@RacingNorth • @NissanCanada • @AutoSportQuebec • Mont-Tremblant, Quebec (May 24th, 2015) – The Nissan Micra Cup officially got under way this past weekend with two spectacular races on the Circuit Mont-Tremblant. Both rounds were claimed by the young driver from Thailand, Thanaroj Thanasitnitike, after two fierce battles that brought trackside spectators to their feet.
Qualifying in pole position for Saturday’s race, the young Quebecker Olivier Bédard initially led for the first few turns before getting passed by the two Nissan GT Academy Team drivers. Thanaroj Thanasitnitike, of Thailand, followed by his teammate from India, Abhinay Bikkani, took over the front, later to be joined by Marc-André Bergeron. For Bikkhani and Bergeron, any hope of becoming the very first Nissan Micra Cup winner was dashed mid-way through the race when they both crashed off course. Their Nissan Micras were not damaged and both quickly returned to racing, but by then Thanasitnitike, followed closely by Jean-Michel Isabelle and Friday’s practice session lap record holder Stefan Rzadzinski, became the new drivers battling it out for victory.
By the end of an exciting 30 minutes of racing, during which positions frequently changed, Thanasitnitike won by one second over Isabelle, with Rzadzinski only another three-tenths of a second behind. Olivier Bédard was successful in defending this fourth place spot, ahead of Valérie Chiasson. The Top 10 was rounded out by Abhinay Bikkani, Carl Nadeau, Valérie Limoges, top novice driver Metod Topolnik and Marc-Antoine Demers. All drivers that took to the start crossed the finish line with only a ten-second gap covering the first nine drivers; great signs of an exceptional course on all accounts.
On Sunday, Thanasitnitike quickly claimed the lead with Olivier Bédard hot on his tail, both drivers exchanging the top-ranked spot multiple times. With only just enough fuel to finish the race, Bédard had to ease up during the last lap but managed to conserve a second place finish ahead of Albertan Stefan Rzadzinski, who once again completed the podium.
Carl Nadeau and novice Metod Topolnik had an intense battle for fourth place, with only six-tenths of a second separating them as they crossed the finish line. Olivier Pelletier, Gabriel Gélinas, Valérie Chiasson (who executed a spectacular comeback after having to drive onto the grass during the first lap to avoid hitting a spun car), Valérie Limoges and Paul Dargis completed the top 10.
A touching moment of solidarity crowned the inaugural series event.
During the second race’s podium, the winner and Nissan GT Academy driver decided to offer his two Nissan Canada cheques of $1,500 worth of parts to new driver Mario Berthiaume, who was unable to start the race after seriously damaging his car in a practice session accident. Series organizer Jacques Deshaies, along with Didier Marsaud of Nissan Canada and Frank Bagouet of Total Canada each presented $1,500, bringing the total to $7,500.
This thoughtful gesture exemplifies the spirit of family that is omnipresent in the Nissan Micra Cup, which will hopefully allow Mario Berthiaume to soon rejoin the pack.
Thanasitnitike leads the drivers’ championship with 80 points, ahead of Bédard (68), Rzadzinski (64), Jean-Michel Isabelle, and Pierre Clavet and Carl Nadeau (46). Metod Topolnik leads the novice championship.
This first weekend of the Nissan Micra Cup held up to all of its promises. There was never a lack of action, a good omen for the next outing in two weeks during the Grand Prix du Canada, on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montréal.
About the Nissan Micra Cup: Sanctioned by Auto Sport Québec (ASQ) and presented by JD Promotion & Compétition with the support of Nissan Canada, the Nissan Micra Cup exclusively features the stock Micra 1.6 S M/T model with minor modifications, including NISMO suspension – to render it race-ready.
Unlike most motorsport events, each competing Nissan Micra race vehicle will have the exact same specifications, resulting in a competition that truly reveals the most skilled drivers. The Nissan Micra Cup race vehicles remain equipped with the Nissan Micra’s stock 1.6-litre DOHC 4-cylinder engine with dual fuel injection and Twin CVTC (Continuously Variable Timing Control) and stock 5-speed manual transmission. More than 25 Nissan Micras will compete on each race weekend which will include two hours of track time consisting of: a 30-minute trial, a 30-minute qualifying session and two 30-minute races.
Young karting drivers, the average Canadian looking for an entry point into motorsport competition, or anyone who wants to experience the rush of adrenaline inherent with racing cars are all well-suited to this series. In summary, the Nissan Micra Cup is for people who are passionate about motorsports, want to experience all the fun and thrills of racing, but without spending staggering amounts of money.
For more information on the Nissan Micra Cup, please go to the website www.nissan.ca/micracup.
About the Nissan Micra: In 2014, the Nissan Micra returned to Canada after 23 years as an all-new model, offering Canadians unbeatable value with the lowest starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) in Canada at $9,998. One item that sets the 2015 Micra apart is its agility. Micra is easy to drive and park, thanks to excellent all-round visibility and turning radius, electric power steering and a power to weight ratio that surprises. Powering the front-wheel drive Micra is a DOHC 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine rated at 109 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 107 lb-ft. of torque @ 4,400 rpm.
About Nissan North America:In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized annually by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year since 2010. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.InfinitiUSA.com, or visit the U.S. media sites NissanNews.com and InfinitiNews.com.
About Nissan Motor Co.: Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan’s second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 244,500 employees globally, Nissan sold 5.32 million vehicles and generated revenue of 11.38 trillion yen (USD 103.6 billion) in fiscal year 2014. Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of more than 60 models under the Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands. Nissan leads the world in zero-emission mobility, dominated by sales of the LEAF, the first mass-market, pure-electric vehicle. It is the best-selling EV in history with almost 50% share of the zero-emission vehicle segment.
For more information on our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit our website at http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/.
About Nissan Canada Inc.:Nissan Canada Inc. (NCI) is the Canadian sales, marketing and distribution subsidiary of Nissan Motor Limited and Nissan North America, Inc. With offices in Vancouver (BC), Mississauga (ON), and Kirkland (QC), NCI directly employs 250 full-time staff. There are 187 independent Nissan dealerships, 38 Infiniti retailers and 45 Nissan Commercial Vehicle dealers across Canada. A pioneer in zero emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades including the prestigious 2011 European Car of the Year and World Car of the Year awards.
More information about Nissan in Canada and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.nissan.ca and www.infiniti.ca.
Didier Marsaud/ Senior Manager, Corporate Communications- Nissan Canada
Jenn McCarthy/ Cohn & Wolfe