Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Season Finale Sunday Notebook
Sunday, September 3, 2017

It seemed as though the final race of the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama would have an anticlimactic finish Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The morning saw chilly temperatures and a steady drizzle and mist that created poor visibility and treacherous racing conditions.

With all of the Series Championships solidified in Saturday’s race, it seemed as though the 45-minute race around the 10-Turn twisty road course would simply be an exercise in preservation.

Mark Motors Racing decidedly disagreed with that course of action, however, as their lime green and black stable dialed up the racing action on the 3.96-km (2.459-mile) slippery surface and proved that it would not be a Sunday cruise.

At the drop of the green flag, Zach Robichon of Ottawa, Ontario, in the No. 98 for Mark Motors made a gutsy move on series champion Scott Hargrove in the No. 9 for Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol, firmly announcing that the dogfight for the lead had begun.

The pair swapped positions throughout the first lap, but the rainfall increased and a full-course caution was issued on Lap 2 due to three cars spinning out independently of one another and making contact with the tire barriers. As the yellow flag came out, it was Robichon who had captured the lead and drove his Mark Motors entry all the way to Victory Lane and the overall and Platinum Cup victory.

This is Robichon’s second victory of the season, the first at Watkins Glen International under very similar conditions, which proves that Robichon has an affinity for rainy racing conditions.

Second to cross the finish line was another familiar lime green car, but not who you might normally expect. As the green flag dropped, the No. 78 of Roman De Angelis in Gold Cup driving a 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car made a bold move in the rain from his eighth-place starting position, pushing through traffic like a man on a mission to steal third place, just behind Hargrove.

As the race progressed, De Angelis brought the battle to Hargrove. The two of slid around the course engaged in a contest of wills and tire traction. As the track went back to green after the first caution period, De Angelis caught Hargrove and moved up to second. But despite already clinching the championship Saturday, Hargrove pushed hard to find any advantage through the dismal conditions.

On Lap 19, Hargrove was able to gain his position back with a bold move, but De Angelis didn’t back down and the 16-year-old took it back just one lap later to take the checkered flag, second-place overall and the victory in Gold Cup. Hargrove ultimately finished third overall and second in Platinum Cup.

The No. 69 of Remo Ruscitti, who drove three fiercely competitive races this weekend, remained extremely consistent Sunday in his Platinum entry for OpenRoad Racing. The Vancouver, British Columbia, driver maintained his fourth-place position from the start, and his great view of the De Angelis/Hargrove battle to finish as he started, and claim the third step on the Platinum podium.

But still, Mark Motors Racing wasn’t finished.

The No. 07 of Tim Sanderson for DFC Motorsport/Speedstar Motorsport for Downtown Porsche and Harry Rosen was one of the victims of the weather and spun out with light contact to the wall which caused the first caution. He was joined by the No. 77 of Patrick Dussault for Lauzon Autosport/GT Racing for Porsche Rive-Sud/Lauzon who had a similar issue, and the No. 31 of Michael de Quesada of Alegra Motorsports. All three had independent incidents and Sanderson and Dussault were forced to retire from competition.

The incident paved the way for Platinum Masters Champion Marco Cirone in the No. 88 for Mark Motors Racing to jump up to fifth position as the caution period ended. For the remainder of the race he enjoyed spirited competition from de Quesada, who fought to regain the ground he lost during the yellow and the No. 83 of Max Tullman for Tullman Walker Racing. While the five-time Platinum Masters Champion conceded ground and finished seventh overall, he captured his ninth victory of the season.

Tullman’s teammate Neal Walker in the No. 71 entry locked in behind Cirone to take his second podium of the season in Masters competition with his second-place finish.

Pieter Baljet in the No. 15 for Porsche Centre Victoria started in 12th position on the grid, and was able to move up three positions to win the Platinum Yokohama Hard Charger Award as well as third in class.

And while De Angelis charged through the field, the No. 13 of Orey Fidani for Pfaff Motorsports/Orlando Corporation played out a different strategy, keeping a more reserved pace and maintaining consistency until a loss of traction on Lap 18 pushed him into the gravel, causing one more full-course caution period for the race and ending his day in second place on the podium.

The competitors ended their season with a celebration Sunday afternoon in nearby Oshawa, Ontario, collecting their Championship honors and celebrating with friends, family, teams, partners, officials and other series constituents.

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.