@IMSA • @CTMPOfficial • GT3CAN • BOWMANVILLE, Ontario (May 17, 2015) – Chris Green finished an ideal start toward his goal of capturing his first Platinum Cup championship by completing a weekend sweep of Rounds 1 and 2 of the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin on Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Green, from Montreal, led from start to finish in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. He beat runner-up Marco Cirone, from Toronto, to the finish by 4.897 seconds. Green held off Cirone on a last-lap restart to win Saturday by .660 of a second.
“It’s been an amazing weekend and I am really proud of the Pfaff guys,” Green said. “They did such a good job of putting together my Pfaff car. I couldn’t ask for anything more. The Michelins were fantastic, and everything was really, really great from start to finish.”
Daniel Morad, from Thornhill, Ontario, finished third for the second consecutive round in the No. 22 Alegra Motorsports Porsche to complete a successful first weekend in sports car racing. Morad returned to racing this weekend after a five-year hiatus. He won karting and junior open-wheel championships before racing in Europe in A1GP and Formula One feeder series GP3 from 2008-10.
Rookie Harry Steenbakkers, from Ottawa, finished fourth in the No. 78 Mark Motors Racing entry after intense duels for position with Tim Sanderson, Etienne Borgeat and Carlos de Quesada at various points during the 45-minute race. Sanderson, from Pickering, Ontario, rounded out the top five in the No. 07 Northwest Atlantic Motorsports Porsche.
Brazilian native Bruno Chapinotti, a resident of Toronto, won the Gold Cup class in the No. 12 SpeedStar Motorsports Porsche in just his second career sports car start.
Cirone kept his No. 88 Mark Motors Racing Porsche within one second of Green through the early laps on the 10-turn, 2.459-mile circuit. Green led by 1.096 seconds when the only full-course caution period of the race was triggered with 37 minutes remaining, as Martin Harvey’s No. 08 Wingho Racing Porsche slowed on course and Michael de Quesada’s No. 24 Alegra Motorsports entry stopped in Turn 1.
Green wasted little time building a bigger gap to Cirone once racing resumed. Green led by 1.808 seconds at the halfway point of the race, just five minutes after the restart. He added tenths of a second to that lead every lap to ease away to the final margin of victory.
“I just went for a Sunday cruise, literally, on Sunday,” Green said. “Marco was giving me a push for a while, but I figured I would turn it up a bit and make it harder for him. So I am really happy to bring this one home for the team and start the season with two wins.”
Cirone didn’t have much time to look through his windshield at Green after the restart because his mirrors were full of Morad’s Porsche.
Morad sliced under Cirone in Turn 10 on the first lap after the restart, momentarily taking second place as both cars powered on the front straightaway. But the rear of Morad’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Challenge car lost traction as he took a slightly wide line exiting the turn, allowing Cirone to set him up on the front straight for a textbook low pass diving down the hill into the fast, fearsome Turn 1.
Cirone held second for the rest of the race, pulling away to beat Morad to the finish by 5.010 seconds.
Steenbakkers, 17, followed his fifth-place finish in his series debut Saturday by placing fourth. He used an aggressive pass of Carlos de Quesada between Turns 9 and 10, including side-by-side contact, to secure fourth place with three minutes, 30 seconds left in the race.
That was the final act in a show of hard, thrilling racing between Steenbakkers, de Quesada, Sanderson and Borgeat as they battled for fourth place throughout the race.
The most breathtaking portion of that action came with 21 minutes left in the race when Steenbakkers, Borgeat and Sanderson plunged into Turn 1 – a fearsome turn for two-abreast racing – three-wide. Borgeat was the unlucky victim in that scrap, spinning at the exit of Turn 1. He ended up 11th.
Two-time reigning Platinum Masters champion Cirone kept a perfect record in the class with his second victory of the weekend. He kept his cool after Morad’s pass in Turn 10, regaining second place just one lap later.
“Daniel ran a great race, and he got me there in Turn 10, but I managed to defend going into Turn 1 so he put on a lot of pressure,” Cirone said. “So I just focused and drove it home. Thanks to the Mark Motors team.”
2014 Gold Cup champion Sanderson completed his first event in a Platinum Cup with another podium finish in Platinum Masters.
Carlos de Quesada, from Odessa, Florida, rebounded from failing to finish Saturday to earn his first Platinum Masters podium result of the season in the No. 50 Alegra Motorsports Porsche.
Chapinotti won in Gold Cup in his first start in the series. He didn’t compete in Round 1 Saturday due to car damage suffered in a crash during practice Friday.
Former Brazilian karting standout Chapinotti hounded Round 1 winner Orey Fidani for the first 35 minutes of the race, staying within one second or closer. Chapinotti finally made his move with about 10 minutes left, passing Fidani’s No. 13 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche for the lead as friends and family gathered on the observation deck overlooking the main straightaway roared in delight.
Chapinotti then powered away over the closing laps, ending the race as the final overall car on the lead lap.
“Amazing!” Chapinotti said. “We worked so hard over the weekend, so we are happy to take this. We didn’t have much track time, and I struggled a little bit with the car. I had a lot of grip so I felt a little bit slow, but I just managed to push Fidani and pass him and we just focused on bringing the car home.
“Thanks to all of my sponsors and team and all of their amazing support. My family has been great this weekend, and IMSA has been great. The people are so professional, and it’s just great to be here.”
Michael de Quesada, from Odessa, Florida, was credited with third place despite stopping in Turn 1 with a problem and dropping out six laps into the race.
Up Next: Round 3 and 4 are scheduled for June 12-14 during Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Toronto. For live updates on all the action, follow @IMSALive on Twitter. For live timing, visit scoring.imsa.com.
For more information about Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin, visit www.imsa.com, follow hashtag #GT3CAN @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook.
ROUND 2 POST-RACE QUOTES:
CHRIS GREEN (No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports, winner): “It’s been an amazing weekend, and I am really proud of the Pfaff guys. They did such a good job of putting together my Pfaff car. I couldn’t ask for anything more. The car was perfect, and I didn’t even have to question the tires. The Michelins were fantastic, and everything was really, really great from start to finish. I just went for a Sunday cruise, literally, on Sunday. Marco (Cirone) was giving me a push for a while, but I figured I would turn it up a bit and make it harder for him. So I am really happy to bring this one home for the team and start the season with two wins.”
MARCO CIRONE (No. 88 Mark Motors Racing, second, first Platinum Masters): “We made one slight change on the car, but in the end, it was a little bit more difficult to control. The higher temperatures obviously made a little bit of a difference. It was a little bit better pace with Chris (Green). I was trying to concentrate more, and I can see that it wasn’t as bad as yesterday. But still he drove an incredible pace and mistake-free. He is just a great driver, and we are going to have to go back to the drawing board and try to figure out how to beat him in Toronto. But we are going to give it our best shot. I was on my game today, but obviously it wasn’t enough. Daniel (Morad) ran a great race, and he got me there in Turn 10, but I managed to defend going into Turn 1, so he put on a lot of pressure. So I just focused and drove it home. Thanks to the Mark Motors team.”
DANIEL MORAD (No. 22 Alegra Motorsports, third): “It’s my fifth day in the car now ever and my second race in four years. Yesterday was my first race in four years. So it’s like of like one of those things where I am shaking the rust off. I am really looking forward to this year, considering where we are at right now. We are a little bit above expectations. I was told Marco (Cirone) was a tough racer, and he proved that. Fair, but very, very hard to race against. He gave me just enough room where we didn’t touch, but just enough. It’s good fun. That’s the kind of stuff you miss as a racing driver. You can turn laps all day, but that wheel-to-wheel action is what gives you the motivation to get out there.”
TIM SANDERSON (No. 07 Northwest Atlantic Motorsports, second Platinum Masters): (About going wide in Turn 1 at the end of the race): “I probably overcooked something just trying to catch Orey (Fidani), which was probably a race driver kind of idiotic move. The young guys are supposed to make those stupid moves, not us older guys. But I went wide in (Turn) 1 on the last lap, and I felt something not feeling right after that. I thought I lost a tire, but that doesn’t look like that’s what it was. But it was a great race. I had some great action with Carlos (de Quesada), Etienne (Borgeat) and Orey (Fidani), and it was a very entertaining race. Lots of fun.”
CARLOS DE QUESADA (No. 50 Alegra Motorsports, third Platinum Masters): “It was fun. I was having a great race with Tim Sanderson, and he tried taking me on Turn 8, but I was not about to give it up. We both came in deep and got a little sideways, and I guess that’s where car No. 78 (Harry Steenbakkers) caught up to us coming around Turn 10 and then got hit in the door, but overall it was a great race. It feels great to see my son, a 15-year-old, out here racing. What a dream. We are trying to train him, and we feel that this is a good, safe platform to be able to race in for a kid so young. I actually feel better about him racing in this series than go-karts.”
BRUNO CHAPINOTTI (No. 12 SpeedStar Motorsports, winner Gold Cup): “Amazing! We worked so hard over the weekend, so we are happy to take this. We didn’t have much track time, and I struggled a little bit with the car. I had a lot of grip, so I felt a little bit slow, but I just managed to push (Orey) Fidani and pass him, and we just focused on bringing the car home. Thanks to all of my sponsors and team and all of their amazing support. My family has been great this weekend, and IMSA has been great. The people are so professional, and it’s just great to be here.”
OREY FIDANI (No. 13 Pfaff Motorsports, second Gold Cup): “My car setup for today was mainly the same, just less pressure in the tires. I had the other car behind me (Bruno Chapinotti) for more than half the race, just inches off my bumper, and I couldn’t hold him off any longer. I tried to, but it started to get a little slippery out there, and I just couldn’t hold onto the win. We finished second, and both cars (Chris Green, Fidani) are points leaders in the series, and we look forward to next weekend.”
MICHAEL DE QUESADA (No. 24 Alegra Motorsports, third Gold Cup): “It was going great. I was right behind Bruno (Chapinotti) and Orey (Fidani), but we had changed my suspension and it was going good. But then the throttle cable snapped, and we were done. It’s a shame. Feels good to be on the podium with my dad, but I in the end I just wish I had finished.”
Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin: The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin enters its fifth season in 2015 ready to produce more intense, exciting competition for semi-professional and aspiring professional drivers in the world’s most produced and iconic race car, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned championship is one of 20 global Porsche single-make Cup Racing series and is the perfect platform for aspiring drivers to ascend to the highest levels of GT competition, such as the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Racing is divided into two classes – Platinum Cup, featuring the 2014 and 2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, which is based on the seventh, and current, generation of the street car; and Gold Cup, which is comprised of the previous iteration (model years 2010-2013) of the race car. A Masters Championship also is conducted in the Platinum class. Each class is awarded with its own podium at the end of every race and individual champion at the end of every season. Points are awarded by finish in class.
ABOUT IMSA: The International Motor Sports Association, LLC (IMSA) was originally founded in 1969 with a long and rich history in sports car racing. Today, IMSA is the sanctioning body of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the premier sports car racing series in North America. IMSA also sanctions the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, as well as four single-make series: Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama; Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin; Ferrari Challenge North America; and Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America. IMSA – a company within the NASCAR Holdings group – is the exclusive strategic partner in North America with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), which operates the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a part of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The partnership enables selected TUDOR Championship competitors to earn automatic entries into the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.
From: Paul Kelly/ Grand-Solutions