June 12, 2016.- This weekend, Quebec driver Valérie Chiasson participated in the two Porsche GT3 Cup Canada races, presented at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, as part of the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada. After a promising start three weeks ago in Ontario, this time she earned herself her first series Top 6 finish on Saturday, at the wheel of her Porsche Prestige Team’s GT3 Cup, before finishing off the weekend with an eighth place finish on Sunday.
The Grand Prix du Canada and the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve are undoubtedly Valérie Chiasson’s good luck charms. At her debut on the track in 2014, she finished first Novice in Touring Car, before becoming the very first female driver to claim an overall podium last year. With her newly successful performance in the Porsche Cup, a series in which she just started this year, she now totals five Top 6 finishes in six starts on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve !
Valérie’s weekend did not have an easy start. Thirty-six drivers were in action at the same time as the Porsche GT3 Cup Canada competitors were sharing the track with their American rivals, and the ensuing traffic was a challenge for many during qualifying. « I’ve never experienced such a difficult qualifying session, impossible to make even one lap without being surrounded by other competitors » summarized Valérie Chiasson, who qualified ninth out of the twenty-five Porsche GT3 Cup Canada drivers.
Held on a dry but cold track, Saturday afternoon’s race saw the driver of the #27 Porsche get an excellent start, taking two positions right off the bat. By the end of the laps, she claimed another seven spots to cross the finish line in sixth place in the Canadian standings, and sixteenth out of all combined competitors from both sides of the border. « It was a bit of a crazy race; there were several small collisions close to me but I managed to make passes and keep my car intact. I still have a lot to learn because I have very little experience with this car but gaining nine spots and finishing in the Top 6 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Canada for the first time, really is an excellent result » concluded the only female driver entered in the series.
Held Sunday morning before the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada, the second race finally got started after a lengthy time behind the safety car due to a downpour onto the track just prior to the start. The race eventually only lasted fifteen minutes, which was not enough time for Valérie Chiasson to climb up the leaderboard as she had done the day before. « I did everything I could to gain some spots. Unfortunately, any progression was halted by a driver from the American series who lost his brakes just before the infamous "Québec wall" and violently punted me on the right side. I was afraid that the door would swing open and force me to retire but the Porsche GT3 is very solid and I was able to continue the race, despite having lost two places » commented the Quebec driver, who is also the Canadian representative on the FIA "Women in Motorsport" Commission, which encourages female participation in motorsport.
Valérie Chiasson was brilliantly able to reclaim those two lost spots on the last two laps to finish this race in eighth place of the Porsche GT3 Cup Canada, twentieth overall of the combined Canadian and American series. This jumps her up to seventh in the Canadian championship after four of the twelve scheduled races this season. « I learned a lot this weekend. Saturday’s race was obviously the better of the two for me but the results were still positive on Sunday after racing the car in the rain for the first time in tricky mixed wet and dry conditions » concluded Valérie.
Vancouver driver Scott Hargrove won both races at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve… The following outing for Valérie Chiasson and the Porsche Prestige team will take place on July 1st and 2nd in the state of New York, at Watkins Glen. As in Montreal, the American and Canadian series drivers will contest the two races concurrently.
Valérie Chiasson’s participation this season in the Porsche GT3 Cup Canada is organized in partnership with Porsche Prestige (principal partner), Total Canada, Super Décapant, Anibal Automotive Design, L.P.M., VCE Auto Marketing and Pole-Position Magazine.