Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Season Finale Saturday Notebook
Saturday, September 2, 2017

The penultimate race of the season for Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama competitors Saturday felt a lot like Friday’s Round 5, rescheduled from Watkins Glen International, but with a twist.

While the end results look exceedingly similar and the No. 9 of Scott Hargrove in the Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol entry sailed across the finish line to take his 10th season victory, more importantly, he also clinched the Platinum Cup Series Championship for 2017.

This is Hargrove’s second Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada series championship, having won his first title in 2015. Sunday’s championship celebration will see the Tsawwassen, British Columbia, resident collecting the keys to a one-year lease on a new Porsche 911 road car in recognition of his race craft.

And the rest of the Platinum championship stacks up just like the Round 11 race results.

Zach Robichon, who has driven a superb season in the No. 98 entry for Mark Motors Racing continued to challenge Hargrove, as he has all season long. A fierce competitor and a true sportsman, the Ottawa native drove a strong, clean race, but was unable to bring the battle to Hargrove, and settled for second place in the race and the series championship.

Alegra Motorsport’s Michael de Quesada, who is more than familiar with the twists and turns of the 3.96-km (2.459-mile) road course, having also competed on its familiar 10 turns as part of IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in a GTD entry, followed the same pattered as Friday’s race as well.

The 17-year-old started in third place and demonstrated a pace that was nearly enough to catch Robichon throughout the race, but as the checkered flag dropped he just didn’t have enough throttle to make a move and finished on the third step of the podium, and in the series championship.

And while many of the same battles brewed around the historic Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, the Platinum Masters Championship threw in a variable.

Marco Cirone in the No. 88 entry for Mark Motors Racing had a commanding victory in Friday’s race, but started in eighth on the grid Saturday, behind rival Tim Sanderson in the No. 07 DFC Motorsport/Speedstar Motorsport entry for Harry Rosen/Downtown Porsche.

Sanderson locked in behind his Gold Cup dance partner, Roman De Angelis in the No. 78 entry for Mark Motors/Bestline Auto Tech, and kept the throttle down, enjoying a heated battle with the No. 77 of Patrick Dussault for Lauzon Autosport/GT Racing and Porsche Rive-Sud and the No. 69 of OpenRoad Racing’s Remo Ruscitti.

Sanderson and Ruscitti swapped positions several times in the last few minutes of the race, but Sanderson was ultimately able to outfox the younger driver and take the victory for the Platinum Masters class, relegating Cirone to second place.

Cirone was far from disappointed in his finish however, as his second-place run clinched his fifth Platinum Masters Championship in a row, making him the winningest championship driver in series history.

Pieter Baljet enjoyed a spirited drive in his No. 15 entry for Porsche Centre Victoria, mixing it up with fellow Platinum Masters entry Neal Walker in the No. 71 car of Tullman Walker Racing and the No. 13 Gold Cup entry of Orey Fidani for Pfaff Motorsports/Orlando Corporation. He didn’t have quite the power to catch Cirone, but was pleased to finish the 45-minute sprint in third place in class and third in the class championship.

De Angelis, who normally is a focal point of Sanderson’s rear view mirror, enjoyed his cruise though Platinum traffic, as he held off Sanderson and fellow Gold competitor Fidani to take his ninth victory of the season. De Angelis has already secured the Gold Cup Championship after Trois-Rivieres, but Fidani’s drive Saturday not only earned him the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions in the race, but also second place in the class championship.

Of Note: 

Porsche Canada launched a new fan initiative called the “Spirit of Speed” that centers around a new trophy created solely out of Yokohama Tire rubber in the form of a ¼ scale model of a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car that will be awarded to someone in the series that best demonstrates true dedication, loyalty and sportsmanship and the values shared by all the Series partners, officials and constituents. The trophy was unveiled Saturday in Yokohama Hospitality as a preview of Sunday’s championship celebrations.

Qualifying:

While the season may be winding down, Hargrove is still winding up. In qualifying earlier in the day, the Platinum points leader ensured his starting position, by setting a new GT3 Cup Challenge track record, clocking a lap of one minute, 18.488 seconds, eclipsing his time set earlier at the series season opener in May.

Sanderson captured the fastest lap for the Platinum Masters class, outpacing Cirone in an unusual twist on the normal qualifying scene.

And in Gold, it was Roman De Angelis settling into his usual top spot to lead the Gold Cup class charge.

For more information about Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama, visit IMSA.com, and follow hashtag #GT3CAN at @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook.

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

The combined Rounds 11 and 12 will be aired on TSN Saturday, Sept. 30, at 1 p.m. (ET). They will run on RDS2 Sunday, Oct. 15, at 1 p.m. and Motorsports.com Saturday, Oct. 14, at 9 p.m.

Schedule (all times ET):

Round 2: 9:45-10:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 3

Race Coverage:

Live Streaming: Race 2 Sunday, Sept. 3, will be streamed live on IMSA.TV

Live timing: All on-track sessions at scoring.imsa.com and on the official IMSA app for iOS

Twitter: Live text commentary from all sessions at @IMSALive

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