MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – June 10, 2013) – Conditions similar to the qualifying session ended the first race day at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Saturday. The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada drivers were the last on track and avoided a wet session due to the previous on-track activity creating a clean, dry line on track. Conditions were similar to qualifications, which made for an ultra-competitive 30-minute sprint.
Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports driver Chris Green led the field from the grid to the finish line and clinched his first Platinum Cup victory of his career and the 2013 season by a 17.390 margin. Green pulled away from the field immediately as the only driver consistently turning laps of 1:41, with everyone else settling in behind him at 1:42 or above.
“Montreal is home for me,” Green said. “It’s important for me to perform well in front of my home crowd in front of my friends, my family, and my sponsors. The Pfaff/Alegra car has been fantastic and I never had to look back.”
Green’s fastest lap came in his fifth time around the circuit. His quickest time was over one second better than the next driver in the field, teammate Spencer Pigot.
With a second-place finish Pigot earned his third spot on the podium this season.
“It’s my first time here and I love the event. It’s great to be part of an F1 weekend,” Pigot said. “IMSA does a great job of putting everything on so I’m really enjoying it. It’s fun to win races and be right up there. We’ve been second the past few times so hopefully we’ll be able to get back on the top step.”
SpeedMerchants’ David Ostella began and ended the race in third position for his second podium finish of the year. Ostella battled with Masters Championship driver Marco Cirone before making a well-executed pass under braking into the hairpin on lap 13.
“The race was great,” Ostella said. “The team did an awesome job. The car was really good. I had a little incident with Laberge, just a racing incident, nothing you can do about that. After that I just put my head down and just tried to get some laps in, landed in third, which was nice.
The top three Platinum Cup drivers consistently mixed with Masters Championship drivers Marco Cirone and Perry Bortolotti of Mark Motors Racing. The experienced drivers proved they could give the youngsters a run for their money in round three of the 10-round season.
In the Gold Cup, Tim Sanderson claimed his third victory of the season. Sanderson climbed two positions during the 30-minute feature after starting in 13th position and ending in 11th overall. The second Gold Cup finisher, Robert Maranda, ended 13th overall after starting in the 15th spot. It was an exciting return for Maranda for the 2013 season.
Carlos de Quesada with Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports finished third in the Gold Cup despite a spin early in the race.
Marco Cirone was as high as second position in Saturday afternoon’s race feature before finishing fourth overall and first in the Masters Championship. The Mark Motors Racing driver was side-by-side with three-time Platinum Cup podium finisher Spencer Pigot early on in the race. He continued to remain in the top group with youngsters Pigot and Ostella just ahead of him.
Behind Cirone a constant battle ensued for the remaining two podium spots in the Masters Championship.
Cirone’s teammate Perry Bortolotti and SpeedMerchants driver Anthony Mantella were separated by as little as seven tenths of a second throughout the race. Bortolotti, Mantella and SportsCarBoutique’s Ilker Starck were all nose-to-tail with 10 minutes remaining. Mantella made a pass on Starck heading into Turn 14 and looked to pass Bortolotti with six minutes remaining. Starck didn’t drop back and on the final lap two position changes occurred in the last corner.
As Bortolotti got away to lead the pack into the hairpin, Starck was more aggressive under braking and got the advantage on Mantella, but had to overcorrect coming out of the turn. This allowed Mantella better acceleration in the front stretch, making for a drag race, and a near-photo finish for the third place Masters spot.
Ultimately, it was Mantella who pulled through to earn the third place Masters Championship despite the driving force of Starck. The Toronto, Ontario native pushed from an 11th place starting position to sixth overall, jumping five total spots.
Starck gained three positions throughout the race starting in position 10 and finishing in seventh.
On Sunday’s race, four SpeedMerchants drivers finished with medals around their necks or trophies in their hands after Race Two at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. Team owner Jim Hoddinott sprayed champagne along with his teammates for the first time this year under a sunny Montreal sky. Rookie driver David Ostella avoided the traffic that caused an early caution and clinched his second Platinum Cup win in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin Series at the 2013 Grand Prix du Canada.
“Four of the SpeedMerchants guys ended up on podium so I couldn’t be happier as a team owner of these guys and the team,” Hoddinott said. “Getting to win here in Montreal in front of the fans is the greatest honor of all. We hope to take this momentum and carry it into Watkins Glen and from there back to Mosport for the ALMS weekend and look for more podiums.”
Ostella posted his fastest lap early on in the race in his No. 13 Global Precast 911 GT3 Cup Platinum Cup entry, atypical of the Toronto, Ontario-native, but necessary as the race was shortened to 25 minutes. An incident in an earlier race caused a 38-minute delay on the start. The field was able to complete 14 laps before taking a checkered flag.
The only caution of the race came on the first lap and lasted for six minutes after multiple incidents between Turn 1 and Turn 2. Starting leader Chris Green and teammate Spencer Pigot made it out of the first turn clean and built a gap between the field, taking turns leading the group. Just as it seemed Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports would have two drivers on the Platinum podium again, the two made contact in the hairpin on lap seven. Green and Pigot rubbed tires and ultimately retired.
“I don’t know exactly what happened in front of me,” Ostella said. “That race was all about being in the right place at the right time. After the restart I just kept my position, figured I needed to do perfect laps and just stay with them. I would have battled it out with (Green and Pigot) if anything.”
Ostella took the lead when Pigot and Green had contact, which ultimately resulted in their retirement from the race. The SpeedMerchants driver led for the remaining seven laps in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car to take the checkered.
Masters Championship drivers Etienne Borgeat and Anthony Mantella finished just over 15 seconds behind Ostella and were nose-to-tail for the final two laps. Mantella posted his fastest time on lap 13, but wasn’t able to make a pass on GT Racing driver Borgeat and ended with a third place finish overall as well as second in Masters.
Borgeat began the race in fourth position and hopped up to third after the incident between Green and Pigot and ultimately surpassed Pigot after a flat tire resulting from contact sent him to the pits. Borgeat turned his fastest time on lap nine, two laps after taking the second position.
The second place overall finish was Borgeat’s first time on the Platinum Cup podium this season and his first win in the Masters Championship. SpeedMerchants driver Anthony Mantella also found the Platinum Cup podium for the first time in 2013 and made his fourth stop on the Masters Championship steps.
“Starting with the delay was fine,” Mantella said. “With the help of Jacques Dallaire and learning to deal with the stress and pressure of being in the car helps. There is never any pressure from the team so you just got out there and do your thing.”
Fiorano Racing for Joanne’s House driver Tim Sanderson continues to own the Gold Cup competition. Sanderson claimed his fourth title in race two at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, turning his fastest lap on the sixth time around. The Pickering, Ontario-native charged from a 12th place starting position to finish sixth overall.
Robert Maranda finished second in the Gold Cup and Carlos de Quesada came in third.
Montreal-native Etienne Borgeat topped the Masters podium in front of a home crowd at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. With his home located just over 100 meters from the circuit, Borgeat was pleased with his second-place overall finish and first Masters Championship win of the 2013 season.
SpeedMerchants driver Anthony Mantella landed on the podium for the fourth time this season in the Masters Championship and battled with Borgeat until the bitter end of the 14-lap race. Mantella was joined by his team owner, Jim Hoddinott. Hoddinott finished third after a spin by teammate Christian Chia on the last lap allowed him to slide up a position.
In Gold, Sanderson ran clean and quick to keep his Master’s points lead, finishing ahead of Carlos de Quesada who was forced to retire due to on-track contact.
The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin Series participants return to the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the second time this season July 19-21. Rounds five and six will take place at the legendary circuit for the Grand Prix of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. For series news and updates, follow us on Twitter @GT3Canada or on Facebook. For race results, points standings, event information or to download a Spotter’s Guide, visit http://imsachallenge.ca.
For more information on the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin, visit http://www.facebook.com/gt3canada on Facebook and @GT3Canada on Twitter.
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