SOURCE: Coupe Nissan Micra Cup

Coupe Nissan Micra Cup

May 21, 2017 22:03 ET

Jean-Michel Isabelle is the first winner of the 2017 Nissan Micra Cup

The first two races of the 2017 season were won by the Quebec driver, in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

MISSISSAUGA, ON--(Marketwired - May 21, 2017) - This past weekend, the Nissan Micra Cup officially kicked off its 2017 season, the third in the series' history, at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) northeast of Toronto, Ontario. Drivers competed in two races, one on Saturday in the sun and one on Sunday in the rain. Despite the opposing weather conditions, each race was just as exciting as the other for the tens of thousands of fans in attendance. In the end, Jean-Michel Isabelle won both races.

The first surprise of the weekend came from Quebec driver Stéfan Gauthier. Rookie of the year last season, he earned pole position in both races ahead of other favourites, including his teammate Kevin King and former champions Olivier Bédard (2015) and Xavier Coupal (2016). Also noteworthy is Australian Keishi Ayukai's excellent debut, as he qualified in third and seventh place.

On Saturday under sunny skies, 22 drivers competed in the first race of the 2017 Nissan Micra Cup season. Unfortunately Stéfan Gauthier didn't benefit from his pole position for much longer than one lap before being involved in an accident with Brian Makse, the highest qualifying Ontarian driver. By the end of the race, it was Quebecker Jean-Michel Isabelle who claimed his very first victory of the series, ahead of Kevin King who finished second and Keishi Ayukai who finished third. Keishi Ayukai's first podium finish is a testament to the young Australian's talent.

The top 10 was completed by Xavier Coupal, Normand Boyer (first in the senior category, reserved for drivers 40 years and older), Valérie Limoges, Olivier Bédard, Marc-Antoine Cardin, Edward Wong and Peter Dyck. Among the rookies, brothers Nicolas and Martin Barrette finished first and second, putting some friendly pressure on their father, Michel Barrette, who will be competing at Circuit Mont-Tremblant next weekend.

On Sunday, tens of thousands of spectators flocked to CTMP to watch the scheduled races. Fans also had the opportunity to admire over 50 Nissan Z models of all generations that were gathered in the paddocks. The Nissan Z's did a parade lap late Sunday morning on a dry track but by mid-afternoon, the weather conditions worsened for the Nissan Micra Cup drivers. Despite constant rain, the competitors drove their Nissan Micras faultlessly and the race concluded without any accidents.

Xavier Coupal, who started in the lead after Stéfan Gauthier was penalized for the previous race's incident, resisted pressure from Olivier Bédard during the first few laps. However, similar to Saturday's race, Jean-Michel Isabelle took over the lead shortly before the midway point, putting himself in a position to claim another well-earned victory. Coupal and King joined Isabelle on the podium, ahead of Ayukai, Bédard, Boyer (winner of the senior class once again), Limoges, Cardin, Gauthier and Luc Richard. Nicolas Barrette earned his second consecutive victory among the rookies.

At the wheel of their agile, fun-to-drive, and practically stock Nissan Micras, the drivers put on a show for the numerous fans in attendance. The spectators were partially made up of Nissan Micra owners who were invited by Nissan Canada to attend all 2017 race weekends free of charge. 67 Nissan Micra owners were on-site this past weekend at CTMP and another 125 are expected at the second race weekend at Circuit Mont-Tremblant.

Next weekend, the third and fourth races of the 2017 season will be held as part of the Spring Classic at Circuit Mont-Tremblant. The practice session will take place on Friday, and the qualifying session and races will take place on Saturday and Sunday. This event will surely attract another big crowd and will mark the Nissan Micra Cup debut for actor and comedian Michel Barrette, who missed the first race weekend at CTMP because of a conflict with his show's tour. Next weekend, he will be the third member of the Barrette family to compete in the Nissan Micra Cup.

For full race results, visit:
http://www.micracup.com/2017-Results_Race?RID=21 (race 1)
http://www.micracup.com/2017-Results_Race?RID=22 (race 2)

Overall championship standings after two races: http://www.micracup.com/2017-Results_ClassGen.

For more information on the Nissan Micra Cup, please visit: http://www.micracup.com/main.

2017 Nissan Micra Cup Season Calendar

May 19 - 21 Victoria Day Weekend SpeedFest, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Ontario
May 26 - 28 Spring Classic, Circuit Mont-Tremblant, Québec
July 21 - 23 Summer Classic, Circuit Mont-Tremblant, Québec
August 11 - 13 Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières, Québec
September 1 - 3 NASCAR Weekend, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Ontario
September 22 - 24 Fall Classic, Circuit Mont-Tremblant, Québec

About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized annually by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year since 2010. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and INFINITI vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.INFINITIUSA.com, or visit the U.S. media sites NissanNews.com and INFINITINews.com.

About Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Nissan is a global full-line vehicle manufacturer that sells more than 60 models under the Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands. In fiscal year 2016, the company sold 5.63 million vehicles globally, generating revenue of 11.72 trillion yen. Nissan engineers, manufactures and markets the world's best-selling all-electric vehicle in history, the Nissan LEAF. Nissan's global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, manages operations in six regions: ASEAN & Oceania; Africa, Middle East & India; China; Europe; Latin America; and North America. Nissan has a global workforce of 247,500 and has been partnered with French manufacturer Renault under the Renault-Nissan Alliance since 1999. In 2016, Nissan acquired a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors, which became the third full member of the Alliance -- a grouping with combined annual sales of almost 10 million units a year.

For more information on our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit our website at http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/. You can also follow @NissanMotor on Twitter.

About Nissan Canada Inc.
Nissan Canada Inc. (NCI) is the Canadian sales, marketing and distribution subsidiary of Nissan Motor Limited and Nissan North America, Inc. NCI directly employs 306 full-time staff across offices in Vancouver (BC), Mississauga (ON), and Kirkland (QC). There are 194 independent Nissan dealerships, 41 INFINITI retailers and 45 Nissan Commercial Vehicle dealers across Canada. A pioneer in zero emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades including the prestigious 2011 European Car of the Year and World Car of the Year awards.

More information about Nissan in Canada and the complete line of Nissan and INFINITI vehicles can be found online at www.nissan.ca and www.INFINITI.ca.

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