Hargrove Bounces Back, Gains on Morad with Dominant Victory in Toronto
Sunday, July 17, 2016

TORONTO (July 17, 2016) – Scott Hargrove put disappointment into his rearview mirror Sunday in Toronto with a dominant victory in Round 8 of the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama, pulling ever closer to the top of the sizzling Platinum Cup championship race.

Hargrove, from Tsawwassen, British Columbia, beat title rival Daniel Morad to the finish by 13.523 seconds in the No. 28 OpenRoad Racing Porsche for his fourth victory of the season. Hargrove led by more than 10 seconds with 12 minutes remaining in Round 7 on Saturday when his car lost drive, handing Morad the victory.

The victory Sunday pulled Hargrove to within three points of Morad for the lead in the Platinum Cup championship, with four rounds remaining this season.

“The car was phenomenal,” Hargrove said. “The OpenRoad car was unreal this whole weekend. Same boat yesterday, but we made up for it today. I’m happy and ready to continue this exact same thing the rest of the year.”

Morad, from Toronto, passed Zach Robichon on the final lap to salvage second place in the No. 17 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports Porsche after running wide in a turn early in the race and dropping to fifth place.

Robichon, from Ottawa, stayed in the title chase by finishing third in the No. 78 Mark Motors Racing Porsche.

Tim Sanderson, from Pickering, Ontario, finished fourth in the No. 07 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports Porsche and completed a weekend sweep of the Platinum Masters class in Canada’s largest city.

Three-time reigning Platinum Masters champion Marco Cirone, from Toronto, rounded out the top five in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing Porsche.

Martin Harvey, from Berthierville, Quebec, finished off a weekend sweep of the Gold Cup class with a victory in the No. 08 Wingho Racing Porsche. Andrew Danyliw, from Toronto, also earned his second Silver Cup victory of the weekend in the No. 38 SCB Racing Porsche.

Hargrove took the green flag from the pole and kept that lead through the early laps. Morad stayed in touch with Hargrove during the first three laps, but he overshot Turn 3 while trying to move side-by-side with Hargrove in a bid for the lead with 39 minutes remaining in the 45-minute race.

Morad made an impressive quick spin of his car in the runoff area to return to the track in fifth place and quickly passed his teammate Sanderson for fourth, with his championship lead hanging in the balance. Morad passed Cirone for third with 37 minutes remaining and set his sights on Robichon, running second behind Hargrove.

Robichon led Morad by 4.3 seconds with 36 minutes left. Morad brushed the wall with 29 minutes left in pursuit of Robichon, and the gap expanded to 4.7 seconds with 28 minutes left.

But Morad kept charging, pulling to within three seconds of Robichon with 15 minutes left. The gap trimmed to two seconds with five minutes left.

Morad was 1.3 seconds behind Robichon at the white flag to start the final lap. But Robichon slowed in lapped traffic, and Morad pounced. He closed on the rear bumper of Robichon and took second place with a daring, unexpected move in Turn 8 on the 11-turn, 1.786-mile (2.874 km) circuit, and his momentum carried him to a gap of .432 of a second over Robichon at the checkered flag.

“He broke very early into Turn 3, but I wanted to pick a spot where he didn’t expect it,” Morad said. “I did the same move to Scott (Hargrove) last year to win in the rain. I like that spot. I’m good on the brakes, and in the NASCAR race (Saturday), I was very strong there. So I was confident going into Turn 8, and it was from very far back. I wanted to make sure I left enough space so he didn’t defend.

“I sandbagged a little bit going around the carousel. I knew I was strong, keeping it flat through the kink in (Turn) 7, and I just lunged down the inside, perfectly under control. I was very surprised the car just stuck.

“All the credit to the team for giving me such an amazing car. Yesterday I didn’t have the car to win, but we got the win. But today we made an adjustment that we needed, and the car was incredible. That pass was probably the best pass of my life, and that was one of the drives of my life to come back and get those two vital points for the championship to keep the lead.”

Said Robichon: “Honestly, I saw him catching up, but I wasn’t too worried because it was a tenth or two a lap. I was struggling. I was probably too cautious with the lap traffic. And in the beginning I thought he had gone off, so the first three or four laps I probably should have pushed harder. I was telling myself, ‘There’s no one behind me that can catch me.’

“Credit to him. He drove phenomenally to catch back up. I need to get better at managing lapped traffic. That ultimately cost me that extra podium spot. Two laps to go, I was still two or three seconds ahead of him, and I really got messed up in the last lap. He made a hell of a move at the end there. I didn’t think he was going to go. I thought I had him covered him off, and I just wasn’t expecting it from him. All the credit to him, and it’s on me to get by the lapped traffic next time.”

The clock showed smooth sailing for Hargrove ahead of the duel between Morad and Robichon. But Hargrove admitted he was listening extra closely to his car while covering the final laps en route to victory, with memories of his heartbreak Saturday still fresh.

“I was so scared,” Hargrove said. “Every noise I thought something was wrong, and you start feeling different things, hearing different things.”

Morad leads Hargrove, 137-134, in the Platinum Cup standings. Robichon is third with 126.

Platinum Masters

Sanderson earned his second victory of the season and pulled to within eight points of leader Cirone, 152-144, in the race for the class championship.

Cirone started from the class pole. But he went off and on the circuit 16 minutes into the race, letting Sanderson close the gap.

Sanderson stalked Cirone, looking for a spot to move for the lead. That moment came at the halfway point of the race when Sanderson nosed under Cirone exiting Turn 1. Sanderson gradually pulled away, keeping the lead for good. He beat Cirone to the finish by 8.184 seconds.

“Marco locked his tires at the end of the back straight a lap or two before the pass, and it looked like he flat-spotted them; there was a lot of smoke there,” Sanderson said. “I got in tight behind him for a few laps, and I kept my eye on him.

“I figured he had some difficulty with his left turns. I was able to get in tight behind him and just accelerated off the last corner and dragged raced him down to Turn 1 and opened up a decent gap.”

Gold Cup

Harvey earned a sweep of both rounds in Toronto for the second consecutive year after a stirring race with rival Shaun McKaigue.

McKaigue, from Gilford, Ontario, started from the class pole in the No. 34 Fiorano Racing Porsche. But Harvey passed him with 38 minutes left to take the class lead.

That was just the start of the fun.

Harvey stretched his lead over McKaigue to three seconds with 26 minutes remaining. But then Harvey spun in Turn 3 with 13 minutes left while navigating lapped traffic. He kept the lead, but McKaigue closed to within easy view of his rear bumper.

McKaigue made an aggressive bid for the lead in Turn 1 with eight minutes remaining, moving outside a lapped car while Harvey drove to the inside. McKaigue was forced to check up, and Harvey’s lead grew to .974 of a second.

But McKaigue never surrendered. He pulled to within .117 of a second of Harvey with two minutes remaining, setting the stage for a fantastic climax to a scintillating show. But McKaigue spun in Turn 3 while pushing to the maximum with one minute remaining, and Harvey drove away to a deceptively easy victory.

“This is race was, wow, just fabulous,” Harvey said. “We went to go pass the Cayman, and I was just too fast, hit the brake and spun. My tires were flat (spotted), and I called my team to see how long to go in the race, and they said, ’15 minutes,’ and I thought, ‘Oh, no!’

“But I just kept pushing. Every time I pushed the brake, I could feel it. We raced very tough with Shaun, a very good competitor, and the car came in safe and we finished. It was a perfect day.”

Harvey also earned the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions in the race in the Gold Cup class.

Bruno Chapinotti, from Bowmanville, Ontario, finished third in class in the No. 03 DFC Motorsport Porsche.

Silver Cup

Danyliw stayed unbeaten this season with his fourth victory in four starts in the class for the new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport race car. He started from the class pole.

“The track conditions were very similar to yesterday afternoon, so it was very slippery, but the car was working really, really well for us,” Danyliw said. “We improved considerably in time from yesterday. It was a lot of fun.

“I have to thank Porsche. They’ve been fantastic. The Cayman has really come along nicely, and just thanks to my team and crew: They were awesome.”

Danyliw also earned the Yokohama Hard Charger Award.

Gerald Panneton, from Terra Cotta, Ontario, finished second in class in the No. 57 Pfaff Motorsports 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 8 POST-RACE QUOTES

SCOTT HARGROVE (No. 28 OpenRoad Racing, winner): “When Daniel (Morad) went off, I thought I was going to make up a lot of points, so hats off to him to getting back up to second. That’s pretty impressive. In my head I thought I was going to take the points lead back, and then I found out he finished second, so that was a little disappointing. The car was phenomenal. The OpenRoad car was unreal this whole weekend. Same boat yesterday, but we made up for it today. I’m happy and ready to continue this exact same thing the rest of the year.” (Were you listening to car the last few laps?): “I was so scared. Every noise I thought something was wrong, and you start feeling different things, hearing different things.”

DANIEL MORAD (No. 17 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports, second): “I had one opportunity going into the hairpin. He (Zach Robichon) broke very early into Turn 3, but I wanted to pick a spot where he didn’t expect it. I did the same move to Scott (Hargrove) last year to win in the rain. I like that spot. I’m good on the brakes, and in the NASCAR race (Saturday), I was very strong there. So I was confident going into Turn 8, and it was from very far back. I wanted to make sure I left enough space so he didn’t defend. I sandbagged a little bit going around the carousel. I knew I was strong, keeping it flat through the kink in (Turn) 7, and I just lunged down the inside, perfectly under control. I was very surprised the car just stuck. All the credit to the team for giving me such an amazing car. Yesterday I didn’t have the car to win, but we got the win. But today we made an adjustment that we needed, and the car was incredible. That pass was probably the best pass of my life, and that was one of the drives of my life to come back and get those two vital points for the championship to keep the lead.”

ZACH ROBICHON (No. 78 Mark Motors Racing, third): “Honestly, I saw him (Daniel Morad) catching up, but I wasn’t too worried because it was a tenth or two a lap. Sometimes he’d gain, and sometimes I’d gain on him. I was struggling. I was probably too cautious with the lap traffic. And in the beginning I thought he had gone off, so the first three or four laps I probably should have pushed harder. I was telling myself, ‘There’s no one behind me that can catch me.’ Credit to him. He drove phenomenally to catch back up. I need to get better at managing lapped traffic, obviously. That ultimately cost me that extra podium spot. Two laps to go, I was still two or three seconds ahead of him, and I really got messed up in the last lap. He made a hell of a move at the end there. I didn’t think he was going to go. I thought I had him covered him off, and I just wasn’t expecting it from him. All the credit to him, and it’s on me to get by the lapped traffic next time.”

TIM SANDERSON (No. 07 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports, winner, Platinum Masters): “Marco (Cirone) locked his tires at the end of the back straight a lap or two before the pass, and it looked like he flat-spotted them; there was a lot of smoke there. I got in tight behind him for a few laps, and I kept my eye on him. I figured he had some difficulty with his left turns. I was able to get in tight behind him and just accelerated off the last corner and dragged raced him down to Turn 1 and opened up a decent gap. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Marco’s weekend, but he’s had his share of good weekends this year, so it was good for us this time. It was a good race, and I enjoyed it.”

MARTIN HARVEY (No. 08 Wingho Racing, winner, Gold Cup; Yokohama Hard Charger Award winner): “This is race was, wow, just fabulous. We went to go pass the Cayman, and I was just too fast, hit the brake and spun. My tires were flat (spotted), and I called my team to see how long to go in the race, and they said, ’15 minutes,’ and I thought, ‘Oh, no!’ But I just kept pushing. Every time I pushed the brake, I could feel it. We raced very tough with Shaun (McKaigue), a very good competitor, and the car came in safe and we finished. It was a perfect day.”

ANDREW DANYLIW (No. 38 SCB Racing, winner, Silver Cup; Yokohama Hard Charger Award winner): “The track conditions were very similar to yesterday afternoon, so it was very slippery, but the car was working really, really well for us. We improved considerably in time from yesterday. That was really good for the guys because they were working really hard. We got to the mid- to low (1:) 20s, I think. It was a lot of fun. There were some moments, a car spun in front of me, cars were going off in front of me, but once we got into a rhythm, it was a good race. I have to thank Porsche. They’ve been fantastic. The Cayman has really come along nicely, and just thanks to my team and crew: They were awesome.”

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