Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Trois-Rivieres Sunday Notebook
Sunday, August 13, 2017

Pause. Play. Repeat. That was the theme for the second of two Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama 45-minute sprint races at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. While Sunday’s overall and class podiums were categorically the same as Saturday, those results were by no means by rote.

As was the case in Race 1 this weekend, Zacharie Robichon applied intense pressure to Scott Hargrove’s No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol entry in Race 2. From the drop of the green flag, Robichon kept his No. 98 Mark Motors Racing 911 GT3 Cup car glued to Hargrove’s rear bumper and began a fierce challenge for the top spot.

Lap times for the Platinum Cup duo were nearly identical as Robichon made several attempts to pass Hargrove, getting door-to-door on at least a pair of occasions. The two even swapped fastest race laps throughout the first half of the race.

But it wasn’t Robichon’s day, as Hargrove managed to finally build a small gap ahead of his season-long challenger. It was once again Hargrove taking the win, with Robichon grabbing a close second just a few car lengths back. Hargrove’s tally improved to eight wins, having given up only one win to Robichon who has not finished lower than second all season.

Michael de Quesada started third in the No. 31 for Alegra Motorsports, but only held on for two laps, giving up the position to the charging No. 69 of Remo Ruscitti in the OpenRoad Racing Porsche. Ruscitti’s pass on de Quesada marked the opening of a heated two-car shootout between the two young guns.

Both Ruscitti and de Quesada ran wide, locked up brakes and pushed their cars as hard as possible on offensive and defensive sides of the racing equation. De Quesada made his move on Ruscitti with a pass on Lap 24 to retake the third spot. De Quesada was then able to break free and hold on until the end, reaching the third and final step on the Platinum Cup podium.

If the next part of this story sounds familiar, it’s because the 16-year-old Roman De Angelis was once again harassing the all-new-for-2017 Platinum Cup cars in the No. 78 Gold Cup entry for Mark Motors Racing – a 2014 model in this case. His target in this race turned out to be his teammate and the Platinum Masters points leader, Marco Cirone, in his No. 88 GT3 Cup entry.

De Angelis jumped two spots through Turn 1 at the start of the race to grab the sixth spot overall immediately behind Cirone. But the older, wiser Cirone is never an easy mark. There is a reason he is leading his class in points this season – it’s called consistency.

As he has done most of the season, Cirone kept his head down and watched the road ahead while the Gold Cup points leader, De Angelis, squeezed every ounce of performance out of his older 911 GT3 Cup car. De Angelis chipped away at Cirone, even posting faster lap times on occasion, but never quite got a nose under the veteran. For Cirone, the drive earned him his seventh Platinum Masters win this season and a fifth-place overall finish. De Angelis secured his eighth Gold Cup win and a sixth-place result overall.

In other Platinum Masters competition, Tim Sanderson cruised to the second podium spot in his No. 07 DFC Motorsport/Speedstar Motorsport entry for Downtown Porsche and Harry Rosen. His pair of second-place finishes this weekend keeps him second in the class championship. Pieter Baljet seized his second podium of the weekend and the season with his repeat third-place performance in the No. 15 GT3 Cup entry for Porsche Centre Victoria.

And not to be left out of the action was Perry Bortolotti, who returned to series competition this weekend in the No. 84 Gold Cup entry for Mark Motors Racing. The 2011 Platinum Cup Champion quickly returned to form and earned his team second in class and the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions in Gold Cup competition.

Next on the schedule for the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama series is the season finale and Rounds 5 (rescheduled from Watkins Glen International), 11 and 12 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, Sept. 1-3.

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 races from Trois-Rivieres will air on on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 2 p.m. on TSN, and Saturday, Sept. 16 at 9 p.m. on RDS2 and Motorsport.tv.

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.