Hargrove, Morad Lead 1-2 Canadian Punch at Watkins Glen
Thursday, June 30, 2016

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 30, 2016) – Canadian drivers Scott Hargrove and Daniel Morad swept the top two overall spots after two practice sessions June 30 for the combined Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama-Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama rounds at Watkins Glen International.

Lucas Catania was third overall, the quickest driver in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.

This is the second-ever combined event between the two International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned Single-Make Series. The first was June 10-12 at Montreal, where Hargrove won both races.

2014 Canadian Platinum Cup champion Hargrove, from Surrey, British Columbia, turned his top lap of 1 minute, 52.088 seconds during the second practice this afternoon on the 11-turn, 3.4-mile circuit, which was repaved this spring. He also led the morning session at 1:52.269 in the No. 28 OpenRoad Racing Porsche, his first laps ever at Watkins Glen.

“The team gave me a great setup all day and let me pound around and learn the track,” Hargrove said. “In the first session, that’s what I did, and toward the end I think I had it figured out. The second session, we just continued what we did in the first session.

“Overall, I’m really happy with the OpenRoad car. The most exciting is being here with 40 cars, another joint event between Canada and the U.S. I think these kinds of fields are what attract attention, and I’m really excited where this can go from here, with the two series running together.”

Morad, from Toronto, was second quickest overall at 1:52.191 from the second session in the No. 17 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports Porsche.

USA Platinum Cup points leader Catania, from nearby Cazenovia, New York, was third overall at 1:52.341 from the second session in the No. 26 NGT Motorsport Porsche. He rebounded from a top lap of 1:53.618 in the morning session.

“We struggled quite a bit in the first practice,” Catania said. “The car just wasn’t cooperating. I didn’t drive the best. We made a lot of changes, and I think we went in the right direction.

“I think we’ll be in a good spot tomorrow for qualifying. But it should be super tight. Everyone is fast here, and the competition is great.”

USA competitor Andrew Longe, from Naples, Florida, was fourth overall at 1:52.434 in the No. 47 Wright Motorsports Porsche. Longe was the only member of the top five overall to record his best time during the morning practice.

Canadian competitor Zach Robichon, from Ottawa, rounded out the top five at 1:52.650 in the No. 78 Mark Motors Racing Porsche.

Fred Poordad, from San Antonio, was sixth overall and the top Platinum Masters competitor at 1:52.693 in the No. 20 Wright Motorsports Porsche. Three-time reigning Canadian Platinum Masters champion Marco Cirone, from Toronto, led the Masters’ competitors from the Canadian series at 1:53.123 in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing Porsche.

2013 USA Gold Cup champion Michael Levitas continued his mastery of The Glen by leading all Gold Cup competitors at 1:54.946 in the No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche. Levitas, from Baltimore, swept both Gold Cup rounds in 2014 and 2015 at Watkins Glen, a four-race winning streak at the picturesque track in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.

Shaun McKaigue, from Gilford, Ontario, was the quickest Gold Cup driver from the Canadian series at 1:57.197 in the No. 34 Fiorano Racing Porsche.

Qualifying is scheduled for 10 a.m. (ET) Friday. The first 45-minute round of the event – Round 7 for the USA series and Round 5 for the Canadian series – is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. Friday. The second 45-minute race will start at 9:10 a.m. Saturday.

Race Coverage

Live streaming: Both races at www.imsa.com

Live timing: All on-track sessions at scoring.imsa.com and on the official IMSA App for iOS, Android and Windows

Twitter: Live text commentary from all sessions at @IMSALive

POST-PRACTICE QUOTES

SCOTT HARGROVE (No. 28 OpenRoad Racing, first, Platinum Cup, GT3CAN): “Watkins Glen is a very interesting track with all the banking. It’s unique. But also I think a little of that oval racing experience I have benefits me a little bit here. The team gave me a great setup all day and let me pound around and learn the track. In the first session, that’s what I did, and toward the end I think I had it figured out. The second session, we just continued what we did in the first session. Overall, I’m really happy with the OpenRoad car. The most exciting is being here with 40 cars, another joint event between Canada and the U.S. I think these kinds of fields are what attract attention, and I’m really excited where this can go from here, with the two series running together.”

LUCAS CATANIA (No. 26 NGT Motorsport, first, Platinum Cup, GT3USA): (About track knowledge at his home circuit): “It definitely helps, but I’m no master at it, by any means. It’s a place I’m comfortable at. With the repaving, it’s definitely new. It’s been the first time I’ve been in the 991 platform here (on the new track), so I’m still trying to get reacclimated to braking zones and things like that. The track is awesome. Watkins Glen did an amazing job, and I’m just honored to be at this event again. To do well is even better. I’m just trying to keep it up through the weekend. We struggled quite a bit in the first practice. The car just wasn’t cooperating. I didn’t drive the best. We made a lot of changes, and I think we went in the right direction. I think we’ll be in a good spot tomorrow for qualifying. But it should be super tight. Everyone is fast here, and the competition is great.”

FRED POORDAD (No. 20 Wright Motorsports, first, Platinum Masters, GT3USA): “I was here a couple of years ago, and it’s a totally different track. It’s faster, and I’m glad they paved it. It’s one of my favorite tracks. I was happy with our performance as a team today. Wright Motorsports put a good car under me. But practice is practice. We have to do the same in qualifying and the race.”

MARCO CIRONE (No. 88 Mark Motors Racing, first, Platinum Masters, GT3CAN): “It’s a fantastic feeling because the track is super smooth and fast. Fortunately, I had the chance to do the Porsche Club (of America) race here a few weeks ago, so we got a chance to really understand how the Yokohama tires work here. This last session, we weren’t as fast as we want to be. But as the temperature changes, so does the track conditions. Also, you have the other series with different rubber, so it’s going to be challenging for qualifying. But I think we’re in good shape, and we’ll come up with a good setup.” (About possibility of rain tomorrow): “I love the rain. I’m ready to go. Let it pour.”

MICHAEL LEVITAS (No. 36 TPC Racing, first, Gold Cup, GT3USA): “I have come to absolutely love Watkins Glen. TPC has done such an amazing job with the setup over the years with the cars here, and I have gotten to know the track and absolutely love it here. I think this is one track where it’s so high speed, and you have to take a leap of faith in a lot of corners where you normally wouldn’t do that, and it pays off. It’s very rewarding. It’s a setup thing. I’m passionate about driving at Watkins Glen, and I’m glad to finally be back on top. I struggled for two races with the car. We had some technical issue, and I resolved it before we came to The Glen. The new surface is a much different read than the old surface. The new aggregate is much sharper, much different on the tire. I think we’ve done a good job, and I do love Watkins Glen. I think we can go down to (1:) 53s with the car. I think we’ve got some more left in it. I know some areas we can make up the time. My Yokohama tires, wow, I’m using the tires from Montreal to turn 54s. They’re just impressive. I’ve always been impressed with Yokohama. Just a good tire to run on.”

SHAUN McKAIGUE (No. 34 Fiorano Racing, first, Gold Cup, GT3CAN): “We went with a little bit stiffer setup, and a lot of the visual that you would have had before are gone because now they’ve been paved over. So it’s still an experiment to try and understand where your braking points are, how much speed you can carry into the corner, how much you can roll through it. But it’s really fun. It’s a challenge. I’m really enjoying it. The track is a lot of fun. The consistency is really unique because most of the tracks we go to, you’re going from different surfaces; there’s always bumps. This is a pretty unusual experience to have such an incredibly smooth track. I’m quite sure there’s a lot more speed in there for us, and it’s just a matter of this old guy getting myself to push myself through those corners.”

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