Patience helped Chris Green earn his second victory of the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin season after a rough-and-tumble race Saturday during the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivières (GP3R).
“I’m really proud of the Pfaff Motorsports Castrol guys today, especially here today in front of my Castrol family, my friends and family here at home,” Green said. “I’m pretty pumped.”
Green, from Montreal, beat rival Scott Hargrove to the finish by 4.996 seconds in his No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche. He also trimmed Hargrove’s Platinum Cup (2014 car models) championship lead to 14 points, 134-120, with three rounds remaining in this season.
“Unfortunately, we were battling really hard,” stated Hargrove. “Everybody was pushing really hard, but we’ve got to try to make it a little cleaner because you’re not going to get so lucky every time. But the OpenRoad Racing Porsche was fast, and we’ll be back tomorrow and try to secure the win here at Trois-Rivières.”
Carlos de Quesada, from Odessa, Florida, finished third in the No. 22 Alegra Motorsports entry for his first Platinum Cup overall podium finish of the season.
“I was just sitting back there taking it easy, just running my race, trying to run good, consistent laps,” added de Quesada. “I knew once I got up on Etienne (Borgeat), just keep on putting pressure, that my shot would be a lot better getting a good pass. I didn’t try pushing it hard. Just ran consistently and found the opening. He ran wide in Turn 8, and I took advantage of that. It was a good race.” (About first podium of season): “It’s about time. I’ve been waiting a year. It’s funny: Two years ago, I got multiple podiums, and last year I ran Gold class. So it’s nice to be back on top again.”
Spencer Pigot, from Orlando, Florida, finished fourth in the No. 21 Alegra Motorsports 911 GT3 Cup car. Etienne Borgeat, from Montreal, rounded out the top five in the No. 2 GT Racing entry on the 11-turn, 1.53-mile (2.46 km) Circuit Trois-Rivières.
Green started from the pole but fell to second in the early laps after a joust with Hargrove, who started second in the No. 69 OpenRoad Racing Porsche. Pigot also squirted past in the early moments of the 45-minute race, dropping Green to third.
But Pigot nudged Hargrove in Turn 9 with 34 minutes remaining, causing Hargrove to spin. Pigot lost momentum in the contact, and Green drive past both of his title rivals to take a lead he never would lose.
“As soon as I got shoved out of first place again, I just was able to settle back in position behind Spencer,” Green said. “I knew I had a faster car than the guys ahead of me. I kind of had a gut feeling something would happen in front, so I just went with the flow. There was lots of time left in the race.”
Race officials judged Pigot was responsible for the contact with Hargrove, and he was forced to the pits from second place to stop for a 20-second penalty.
Hargrove, from Surrey, British Columbia, dropped to fifth after the incident with Pigot. But he jumped into third behind Green and Borgeat when Pigot served his penalty, and Hargrove dove under Borgeat for second with 23 minutes remaining in the race.
It was the second consecutive race in which Hargrove was forced to fight from deep in the field. He was assessed a penalty July 20 in Toronto after contact with Green but still drove through the field to finish second.
“The last one in Toronto was my fault,” Hargrove said. “But here, it was unfortunate because we weren’t really even side by side or anything. I just got punted from the rear. Spun around, had to work my way back up.”
Green led Hargrove by 10.541 seconds with 21 minutes remaining, but it was anything but smooth sailing for him to the finish. His car developed a gearbox problem, causing him to slow over the last 20 minutes. But Green had enough of a cushion to keep Hargrove out of sight until the checkered flag.
“That made it a little bit interesting for a while, but I just maintained the pace,” Green said.
Hargrove has finished first or second in all seven rounds this season.
2013 Gold Cup champion de Quesada earned his first Platinum Cup podium finish since 2012 after a spirited duel with Borgeat for third. De Quesada pulled to within six-tenths of a second of Borgeat with 16 minutes to go.
Both drivers wove through lapped traffic, with de Quesada applying heavy pressure to Borgeat. The high-horsepower stalemate broke with 12 minutes left in the race with Borgeat slid wide in Turn 8, and de Quesada powered past for third.
|Platinum Masters podium finishers (from left): Carlos de Quesada, Perry Bortolotti
De Quesada earned his first Platinum Masters victory of the season with his third-place overall finish.
Mark Motors Racing teammates Marco Cirone and Perry Bortolotti finished second and third, respectively, in Platinum Masters.
“It was lots of banging and knocking and people closing doors on each other,” Bortolotti stated. “It was pretty hairy, for sure. I’m a little disappointed in myself. I ended up trying to get by one of the backmarkers. He shut the door on me. I had to lock the tires up, and I flat-spotted them. So I was hunting Carlos (de Quesada) down, but with the flat spots, I had nothing left. At the end there, it was just uncontrollable. I lost it in (Turn) 8 and had to get it back around and get going again. Really disappointing finish, actually, but good race overall, still.”
Cirone, from Toronto, spun early in the race and was hampered by water leaking from the box that fed the “cool suit” under his driving suit. He still holds a 12-point lead over de Quesada in the Platinum Masters championship with three rounds remaining.
Bortolotti, from Kanata, Ontario, threatened de Quesada for position during the race. But he spun in Turn 8 with two minutes remaining on tires that were flat-spotted a few laps earlier when he was forced to lock his brakes while trying to pass a stubborn lapped car.
|Gold Cup podium finishers (from left): Shaun McKaigue, Tim Sanderson, Martin Harvey
Tim Sanderson regained the Gold Cup (2010-2013 car models) championship lead with his second victory of the season in the No. 07 Alegra Motorsports/Northwest Atlantic Motorsports Porsche. He leads Jerimy Daniel, 122-118, with three rounds remaining.
Daniel was forced to drop out of the race with mechanical problems in the No. 75 TRC Porsche.
Sanderson, from Pickering, Ontario, never was threatened after Daniel’s misfortune and cruised to a victory. Shaun McKaigue, from Gilford, Ontario, finished second in the No. 34 Fiorano Racing entry. Martin Harvey, from Berthierville, Quebec, was third in the No. 08 Wingho Racing Inc. 911 GT3 Cup car.
“Things couldn’t have worked out better for us today,” Sanderson said. “I guess the race gods are with us a little bit. Great start – we did exactly what we were wanting to do, which was put a car between me and the 75 car (Jerimy Daniel), and it worked out well. I think Jerimy had some problems. I guess he overheated or something.
“That is really unfortunate because you always want to race them to the end. But hats off to him: He’s a great competitor, he pushes the hell out of me, and I hope to do the same for him. Tomorrow’s a new day, and I hope he’s back.”
Just 20 points separate Sanderson from fifth-place Ilker Starck in the tight championship chase in Gold Cup.
|Silver Cup podium finishers (from left): Chuck Harris, Keith Bass
Keith Bass ended the perfect streak of Alegra Motorsports teammate Chuck Harris with his first Silver Cup (2005½-2009 car models) victory of the season in the No. 49 Alegra Motorsports Porsche.
“I’ve been working hard for it,” Bass said. “Beautiful city, the people are wonderful. The track is fantastic. I had a blast. Great track.”
Bass, from Tampa, Florida, took the Silver Cup lead after Harris hit the wall in Turn 1 early in the race and damaged the cooling system on his No. 50 Alegra Motorsports entry.
Harris, from Tampa, Florida, pursued Bass but was forced to pull off into a runoff area due to overheating and eventually retired from the race. Harris had won in Silver Cup for the first six rounds of the season.
“I got tangled up, crossed up in Turn 1, hit the wall,” Harris stated. “I must have pulled a hose off or something because I started getting temp issues and then oil issues and then water level. So I ran as long as I could and brought it in. Good time, great track. Lots of walls out there, and I found one today. The car will be good to go tomorrow.”
Round 8 of the 2014 Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin – another 45-minute race – is scheduled for 9:20 a.m. (ET) Sunday at Trois-Rivières.
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