Two Masters Championship Contenders Finish in Top Five
The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada drivers were the last on track and avoided a wet session due to the previous on-track activity creating a clean, dry line on track. Conditions were similar to qualifications, which made for an ultra competitive 30-minute sprint.
Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports driver Chris Green led the field from the grid to the finish line and clinched his first Platinum Cup victory of his career and the 2013 season by a 17.390 margin. Green pulled away from the field immediately as the only driver consistently turning laps of 1:41, with everyone else settling in behind him at 1:42 or above.
“Montreal is home for me,” Green said. “It’s important for me to perform well in front of my home crowd in front of my friends, my family, and my sponsors. The Pfaff/Alegra car has been fantastic and I never had to look back.”
Green’s fastest lap came in his fifth time around the circuit. His quickest time was over one second better than the next driver in the field, teammate Spencer Pigot.
With a second-place finish Pigot earns his third spot on the podium thus far this season.
“It’s my first time here and I love the event. It’s great to be part of an F1 weekend,” Pigot said. “IMSA does a great job of putting everything on so I’m really enjoying it. It’s fun to win races and be right up there. We’ve been second the past few times so hopefully we’ll be able to get back on the top step.”
SpeedMerchants’ David Ostella began and ended the race in third position for his second podium finish of the year. Ostella battled with Masters Championship driver Marco Cirone before making a well executed pass under braking into the hairpin on lap 13.
“The race was great,” Ostella said. “The team did an awesome job. The car was really good. I had a little incident with Laberge, just a racing incident, nothing you can do about that. After that I just put my head down and just tried to get some laps in, landed in third, which was nice.
This track is phenomenal. The fans are amazing. We had people in the stands to watch us. You just can’t ask for a better event than this.”
The top three Platinum Cup drivers consistently mixed with Masters Championship drivers Marco Cirone and Perry Bortolotti of Mark Motors Racing. The experienced drivers proved they could give the youngsters a run for their money in round three of the 10-round season. In the Gold Cup, Tim Sanderson claimed his third victory of the season. Sanderson climbed two positions during the 30-minute feature after starting in 13th position and ending in 11th overall. The second Gold Cup finisher, Robert Maranda, ended 13th overall after starting in the 15th spot. It was an exciting return for Maranda for the 2013 season.
Carlos de Quesada with Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports finished third in the Gold Cup despite a spin early in the race.
Tim Sanderson: First Place Gold Cup
“We had a great race today with a little bit of action at the beginning, but the racing Gods were with us today and it helped a lot. We drove a dry line this morning, but we didn’t have the option of driving on the wet so today the whole track was dry so it made for better action and passing opportunities for everyone.”
Robert Maranda: Second Place Gold Cup
“Montreal’s been fantastic. I love this race, I love this city, and I’m from here. So it’s kind of special being back. I have a lot of friends and family here. It’s super fun (being with F1). There are more people around. It’s more of an event. It feels special. It’s with people who enjoy Porsche. We enjoy sharing the cars with fans. You get a lot of one-on-one with them. You even get people that drop by that are just interested in Porsche and we get to share with them, so it’s very cool.”
Carlos de Quesada: Third Place Gold Cup
“Everything went well at the start of the race. I was quick out there but I got tangled up with a Platinum car trying to make a pass and he hit me on my side and took me out. I went back out and was turning two seconds faster so I was able to finish third.”
Race two at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve begins Sunday, June 9 at 10:30 a.m. For series news and updates, follow us on Twitter @GT3Canada or on Facebook. For race results, points standings, event information or to download a Spotter’s Guide, visit http://imsachallenge.ca.
The Masters Championship
Marco Cirone was as high as second position in Saturday afternoon’s race feature before finishing fourth overall and first in the Masters Championship. The Mark Motors Racing driver was side-by-side with three-time Platinum Cup podium finisher Spencer Pigot early on in the race. He continued to remain in the top group with youngsters Pigot and Ostella just ahead of him.
Behind Cirone a constant battle ensued for the remaining two podium spots in the Masters Championship.
Cirone’s teammate Perry Bortolotti and SpeedMerchants driver Anthony Mantella were separated by as little as seven tenths of a second throughout the race. Bortolotti, Mantella and SportsCarBoutique’s Ilker Starck were all nose-to-tail with 10 minutes remaining. Mantella made a pass on Starck heading into Turn 14 and looked to pass Bortolotti with six minutes remaining. Starck didn’t drop back and on the final lap two position changes occurred in the last corner.
As Bortolotti got away to lead the pack into the hairpin, Starck was more agressive under braking and and got the advantage on Mantella, but had to overcorrect coming out of the turn. This allowed Mantella better acceleration in the front stretch, making for a drag race, and a near-photo finish for the third place Masters spot.
Ultimately, it was Mantella who pulled through to earn the third place Masters Championship despite the driving force of Starck. The Toronto, Ontario native pushed from an 11th place starting position to sixth overall, jumping five total spots.
Starck gained three positions throughout the race starting in position 10 and finishing in seventh.
Marco Cirone: First Place Masters Championship
“I’m very happy with the cars. This was our third session out there and the car was the best it’s ever been. So the team was really able to take the conditions, the track temperature and give me a great setup. I had a great race and I couldn’t ask for more from the team.”
Perry Bortolotti: Second Place Masters Championship
“Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is a great venue. It’s very exciting with the crowds and the big screen. I love all the F1 markers. It’s really well done from that perspective. F1 is the pinnacle of motorsports and we’re right in there in the pits with them. The Porsche cars are equivalent and the only difference is the setup on them, so that makes for really tight, competitive racing and it’s a tremendous series.”
Anthony Mantella: Third Place Masters Championship
“The weather hasn’t been cooperating, but the racing is great. The circuit is challenging. It’s very tough to master, different than anything I’m used to. It’s a very slow entry, and it’s a track that’s a drag race after every corner.
The passing today, it was if you wanted to make that move you wanted to move up, you know nobody was going to give it to me. Thankfully, in this series everyone likes to run clean so when you do have a pass they are gentlemen about it, it’s clean, there’s no contact typically.”
Montreal-native Chris Green owned his home track in qualifications by posting the fastest time in the field and a new qualifying lap record. Green snagged the pole with his time of 1:42.338, half a second ahead of his Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports teammate Spencer Pigot who ran the second-quickest lap.
David Ostella of SpeedMerchants continued to use the patience that granted him a win at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in round two of Series compeition. Ostella ran quicker as the practice session progressed, posting his fastest time of the day on lap 14. The rookie moved from sixth position overall to third in the final five minutes to grab a third-position starting spot for race 1.
GT Racing driver Etienne Borgeat posted the fourth fastest time on track and was joined by fellow Masters Championship driver Marco Cirone in the top five. The third fastest Masters Championship driver in qualifying was Perry Bortolotti, Cirone’s teammate with Mark Motors Racing. With three Masters Championship drivers in the top seven after qualifying, the more experienced drivers proved to not be outdone by the youngsters.
The Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports team was quick in the Gold Cup car as well during qualifications. Carlos de Quesada posted a new qualifying lap record with a time of 1:45.692 on his seventh lap. Tim Sanderson and Robert Maranda were the second and third fastest in the Gold Cup qualifying category.