Morad, Cirone Clinch Season Titles; Robichon Wins Finale At CTMP
Sunday, September 4, 2016

CLARINGTON, Ontario (Sept. 4, 2016) – Daniel Morad’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car was scarred and bruised after the season-ending Round 12 of the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama on Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP).

But Morad still beamed as brightly as the late-summer Canadian sunshine, standing on the podium with family and friends while clutching the shiny piece of hardware he coveted the most – the 2016 Platinum Cup Drivers Championship trophy.

Morad, from Toronto, clinched his first Platinum Cup championship after finishing fifth in the No. 17 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports Porsche. He needed to finish sixth or better to clinch the title. Morad topped the standings with a 205-200 edge over fierce rival Scott Hargrove in the final standings for the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned Single-Make Series.

“We’ve done a great job all year,” Morad said. “Alegra Motorsports and Porsche Centre Oakville have been so supportive of my whole career and getting me back in the car and behind the wheel. I’m forever thankful for that, and I can’t wait for next year.”

Zach Robichon, from Ottawa, Ontario, won the 45-minute race by 11.868 seconds over Hargrove, from Tsawwassen, British Columbia. It was the second victory of the season for series rookie standout Robichon, who ended up third in the season standings in the No. 78 Mark Motors Racing Porsche.

“It was a great way to finish off my rookie year,” Robichon said. “It’s awesome.”

Tim Sanderson, from Pickering, Ontario, rounded out the overall podium finishers in the No. 07 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports Porsche and also was the top Platinum Masters finisher.

Marco Cirone, from Toronto, was fourth in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing, good enough to clinch his fourth consecutive Platinum Masters season championship.

Bruno Chapinotti, from nearby Bowmanville, Ontario, won the Gold Cup class in the No. 03 DFC Motorsport Porsche. Andrew Danyliw, from Toronto, completed a perfect season in Silver Cup with his sixth victory in as many starts this season in the No. 38 SCB Racing Porsche.

Morad started from the pole, but Hargrove stayed in fast pursuit. The two Canadian stars hurtled through Turn 1 side by side on the second lap, with Morad clinging to the lead.

The distance between Morad and Hargrove started to stretch over the next 11 minutes, with Morad pulling a lead of .811 of a second with 32 minutes remaining. The leaders then encountered lapped traffic, letting 2014 Platinum Cup champion Hargrove pull to within .341 of a second in the No. 28 OpenRoad Racing Porsche with 29 minutes remaining.

Then another one of the flashpoints that has characterized this intense rivalry between Morad and Hargrove all season ignited with 27 minutes remaining.

Hargrove dove under Morad in Turn 9 of the 10-turn, 2.459-mile (3.957 km) circuit, and the two cars made contact in Turn 10. The contact caused Morad to spin and fall to fifth place before he restarted. Hargrove took the lead, with Robichon right behind.

But Hargrove was assessed with a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility, handing the lead to Robichon with 13 minutes remaining.

“I think it was a racing incident,” Hargrove said. “Aggressive on my part, aggressive on his part, so I’m not sure about the penalty. It is what is. It didn’t matter at the end of the day. We were still going to be second in the championship even if I did win the race.”

Hargrove trailed by 13.865 seconds after serving his penalty, and Robichon maintained that gap until easing off the last two laps to cruise to the checkered flag. The victory was the second of the season for Robichon, who also won Round 2 in mid-May at CTMP after Hargrove and Morad both were eliminated from the race after a first-lap collision.

“It’s a good win, and, to be honest, this one feels better than the first one,” Robichon said. “I think I had the pace this weekend more so than the first win here in May.

“Last time it sort of fell into my hands, and here I was a legitimate threat with my pace, and I think that’s a testament to the team and what I’ve learned over the year.”

Meanwhile, Morad clicked off laps in fifth place to reach the checkered with the championship safely in his pocket.

“It was a very exciting ending,” Morad said. “It was dramatic, I guess it sums up the year. The pictures will show it; the tire marks on the side of the car are there. But I’m glad it’s all over now, and we can relax a little bit.”

Platinum Masters

Cirone only needed to start this race to clinch his fourth consecutive Platinum Masters championship. But he pushed Sanderson hard, as the gap between the two friendly rivals rarely exceeded one-half second for the entire race.

Sanderson held off Cirone over the closing laps to win by .483 of a second and earn his second overall podium finish of the season. 2014 Gold Cup champion Sanderson ended up second in Platinum Masters points, trailing Cirone, 226-222. But he closed the year with his fifth victory of an impressive season.

“It was a great race, awesome competition, most competition I’ve had all season,” Sanderson said. “I told Marco he deserved the championship, but it’s good to get the last race of the season.”

Sanderson’s lead grew to .9 of a second with 20 minutes remaining in the race. But he couldn’t shake Cirone as the two drove in lockstep around the circuit, skillfully navigating lapped traffic.

Cirone tried to look inside Sanderson in Turn 9 on the final lap, but Sanderson’s lead was too big. Sanderson powered out of Turn 10 to the checkered flag.

“I had to watch my mirrors a lot,” Sanderson said. “Marco was all over me, and he’s a competitor. I knew I needed to just drive the track and not drive my mirrors. We had a little sticker on the steering wheel that said, ‘Drive the track.’ I focus on that stuff, and it helps me.”

Gold Cup

Chapinotti rallied from a mechanical problem that eliminated him from Round 11 Saturday to earn his second victory of the season. He held off 2016 Gold Cup champion Shaun McKaigue to the finish by 1.501 seconds.

“Today was a 10,” Chapinotti said. “It was amazing. Shaun was consistent, and I know he was coming after me. Our car was set up to be better after the first 15 laps. So I just kept pushing.

McKaigue, from Gilford, Ontario, started from the pole in his No. 34 Fiorano Racing Porsche. But Chapinotti passed McKaigue for the lead in the first 10 minutes of the race and held first until the checkered. Chapinotti also won the Yokohama Hard Charger Award.

Chapinotti built a 2.5-second lead after his decisive pass of McKaigue. But McKaigue rallied to within 1.5 seconds, forcing Chapinotti to stay inch perfect with his lines in the turns to keep the lead.

“He was consistent; I knew I couldn’t make a mistake,” Chapinotti said of McKaigue. “I was just focused 100 percent on not making a mistake, and that’s what we did today.”

Silver Cup

2016 Silver Cup champion Danyliw completed his perfect season by winning from the pole, finishing 9.947 seconds ahead of Ilker Starck in the class for the new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport car. Danyliw also won the Yokohama Hard Charger Award.

“The car was working really well,” Danyliw said. “Ilker was on my tail for a little while, but I think he had a couple of slow laps and lost touch with me. It was really fun; I had a great time. It was a great way to end the season, nothing but podiums and victories.”

Starck, from Toronto, completed a solid event with his second runner-up finish of the weekend in the No. 48 SCB Racing Porsche. Series newcomer Ed Killeen, from Buffalo, New York, finished third in the No. 37 Dome Motorsport Porsche.

For more information about Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama, visit www.imsa.com, follow hashtag #GT3CAN @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook.

ROUND 12 POST-RACE QUOTES

DANIEL MORAD (No. 17 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports, 2016 Platinum Cup champion): “It was a very exciting ending. It was dramatic, I guess it sums up the year. The pictures will show it; the tire marks on the side of the car are there. But I’m glad it’s all over now, and we can relax a little bit. Coming into this race all I had to do was start the race and not take a penalty. And once I knew Orey (Fidani) wasn’t starting, I knew all I had to do was take the green flag. I was a bit more aggressive today, knowing that I didn’t do any rash moves I could go and be super-aggressive and try to go for the win. Unfortunately, lap traffic got in the way. My one-second gap turned into nothing real quick. At that point, Scott (Hargrove) made a desperate move up the inside of Turn 9 from way back and drove right into my rear tire and spun me around. We just have to look forward. We’ve done a great job all year. Alegra Motorsports and Porsche Centre Oakville have been so supportive of my whole career and getting me back in the car and behind the wheel. I’m forever thankful for that, and I can’t wait for next year. The team guided me all the way, gave me the support I needed, and it was one of those races where the intensity is gone, especially after being taken out of the race. It became about hitting my marks and bringing it home.”

ZACH ROBICHON (No. 78 Mark Motors Racing, winner): “I knew I had the pace for the leaders because I could keep my pace at will, and I wasn’t driving over my head. So I was like: ‘Oh, you know what? We have a good chance at this race.’ As soon as I started battling, I knew it was my chance and got closer. I didn’t think that was going to happen between Scott (Hargrove) and Daniel (Morad), but I guess I should have expected it. After that, Scott and I were matching pace and then I kind of got screwed up with the lap traffic, but that’s racing. The guys did what they could to give us room, but sometimes there’s just not enough room. So Scott got away a little bit. I was disappointed when I saw him go through for the penalty. It’s a good win, and, to be honest, this one feels better than the first one. I think I had the pace this weekend more so than the first win here in May. Last time it sort of fell into my hands, and here I was a legitimate threat with my pace, and I think that’s a testament to the team and what I’ve learned over the year. It was a great way to finish off my rookie year. It’s awesome.”

SCOTT HARGROVE (No. 28 OpenRoad Racing, second): (About pass of Daniel Morad): “I was on the inside, and I don’t know why he tried to defend so hard, considering he still would have won the championship if I had made the pass. I’m not sure why he blocked so hard, but it resulted in contact. I think it was a racing incident. Aggressive on my part, aggressive on his part, so I’m not sure about the penalty. It is what is. It didn’t matter at the end of the day. We were still going to be second in the championship even if I did win the race. Just a phenomenal effort by OpenRoad Racing and Bestline Auto Tech all year. The car was just so good today, even with the front splitter half missing. I loved it; it was so much fun. I can’t wait to race these cars more. Barring the two bad races we had, we would have walked away with this championship. We can hold our heads high knowing we were the guys to beat all year. Just excited to see what the future brings.”

TIM SANDERSON (No. 07 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports, third; winner, Platinum Masters): “It was probably the best race of the season in terms of competition and having to keep my focus. I had to watch my mirrors a lot. Marco (Cirone) was all over me, and he’s a competitor. I knew I needed to just drive the track and not drive my mirrors. We had a little sticker on the steering wheel that said, ‘Drive the track.’ I focus on that stuff, and it helps me. It was a great race, awesome competition, most competition I’ve had all season. And certainly a better result than yesterday. I told Marco he deserved the championship, but it’s good to get the last race of the season. I want to thank everyone at Alegra and Joanne’s House. I couldn’t have done it myself, for sure.”

BRUNO CHAPINOTTI (No. 03 DFC Motorsport, winner, Gold Cup; Yokohama Hard Charger Award winner): “Today was a 10. It was amazing. Shaun (McKaigue) was consistent, and I know he was coming after me. Our car was set up to be better after the first 15 laps. So I just kept pushing. He was consistent; I knew I couldn’t make a mistake. I was just focused 100 percent on not making a mistake, and that’s what we did today.”

ANDREW DANYLIW (No. 38 SCB Racing, winner, Silver Cup; Yokohama Hard Charger Award winner): “Today was really fun. The track conditions were a little more favorable than yesterday afternoon, so we were able to keep good pace. The car was working really well. Ilker (Starck) was on my tail for a little while, but I think he had a couple of slow laps and lost touch with me. It was really fun; I had a great time. It was a great way to end the season, nothing but podiums and victories.”

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