Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Toronto Indy Grand Prix Sunday Notebook
Sunday, July 16, 2017

As the warmup race feature for the Indy Toronto Grand Prix, the competitors in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama showcased their drive and determination in front of a solid crowd of Ontario race fans Sunday.

The bumpy and erratic streets around Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto were lined with fans as the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Cars took the green flag for their final 45-minute sprint race of the weekend.

The 1.786-mile stretch of asphalt mixed with concrete patches proved no less than a challenge to find grip and a smoother line, but the Canadian competitors would have it no other way as they sailed past the iconic Prince’s Gate looking for an advantage.

But it was once again Tsawwassen, British Columbia native Scott Hargrove that had a perfect sweep of the weekend, leading both practice sessions, taking pole positions and the victories for both races as well in his No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol Platinum Cup entry.

With two wins at this venue in prior years, he demonstrated his ability to navigate the bumps and light sprinkles of rain near the end of the race to showcase his race craft and dominate the field.

The No. 31 of Michael de Quesada in his Alegra Motorsports entry started in third and quickly got by second-place starter Zach Robichon in the No. 98 entry for Mark Motors Racing. However, it became immediately apparent Robichon wanted his starting position back, and he put himself in de Quesada’s mirrors until he found an opening and made his move leading into the second lap of the race.

From there, Robichon and de Quesada ran smoothly in lock-step, with Robichon slowly gaining a healthy gap as they wound their way to the checkered flag, finishing in second and third, respectively, in Platinum Cup competition.

The No. 88 Mark Motors Platinum Masters entry of Marco Cirone grabbed his chance on the first lap and got the jump on rival Tim Sanderson in his No. 07 DFC Motorsport/Speedstar Motorsport entry representing Downtown Porsche and Harry Rosen. Not to be dissuaded, Cirone also moved up on the No. 77 of Patrick Dussault and Lauzon Autosport-GT Racing to take fourth position just behind de Quesada.

Dussault was having none of that however, and patiently stalked Cirone for four laps until he could gain an advantage and the position. Dussault ultimately finished in fourth overall.

Coming into today’s race, Cirone and Sanderson were tied at three victories apiece in class on the streets of Toronto, but it was Cirone who took the fourth victory in Masters competition for drivers 45 years old and above.

While Sanderson was relegated to finish second in Platinum Masters, his race was by no means by rote. He engaged in a fierce battle for overall position with Gold Cup competitor and series rookie Roman De Angelis in the No. 78 Mark Motors entry.

Sanderson kept his advantage until De Angelis proved the agility of his Gold Cup entry and made a final pass on Lap 13 to take sixth place and push Sanderson to seventh overall at that point in the race.

Just behind him, the No. 34 of Shaun McKaigue in his FER-PAL Infrastructure/Aqua Pipe/Pfaff Motorsports entry was also engaged in tight competition with Gold competitor and De Angelis’s rival, Gianmarco Raimondo, who just joined the series for the first time at this event.

McKaigue held his starting position until Raimondo caught him on Lap 4, switching positions. The two ran in tandem until very nearly the end of the race and Raimondo was gaining ground on De Angelis when he suffered contact in Turn 11 on Lap 24 and was forced to end his race behind the wall.

McKaigue gained back his ground but didn’t have enough speed to catch Sanderson, ending his day in third place on the Masters podium.  

A native of Belle River, De Angelis was on a mission to recover his class dominance, as Raimondo had claimed yesterday’s Gold Cup victory. The teenager began from the class pole and pushed hard to put some space between he and the No. 76 GT Racing entry, engaging with Sanderson in his push to the front. But despite his strong drive, his car began to drop speed on Lap 32, ultimately stopping in Turn 4. He was able to limp to Turn 5, but a full-course-caution period was issued to recover him and his day was cut short.

Despite his early retirement, he remained ahead of Raimondo and kept the class victory, relegating Raimondo to second place.

Light rain began as the course marshals were working to recover De Angelis, and the race ended under caution on Lap 36. It was the only full-course caution period of the race.

Next on the schedule for the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama series are Rounds 9 and 10 at the Grand Prix du Trois-Rivieres in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, August 11-13.

The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama season will be highlighted with four televised races on The Sports Networks (TSN), Reseau des sports (RDS) and Motorsport.tv in Europe.

The race weekend will be aired on TSN on Saturday, July 29 at 2 p.m. It will run on RDS2 on Sunday, August 20 at 2 p.m. and finally on Motorsport.com on Saturday, August 12 at 9:00 p.m.

For more information about Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama, visit www.imsa.com, and follow hashtags #GT3USA and #GT3CAN @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook.