Porsche Cars Canada

Porsche Cars Canada
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada
FedEx Trade Networks

FedEx Trade Networks

July 09, 2012 09:00 ET

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin Races Net a New Leader and Series Sponsor in Mont-Tremblant

Historic Circuit Provides Two Days of Tough Racing; Double Winner Moves Out to 18-Point Lead in the Championship

MONT-TREMBLANT, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - July 9, 2012) -

A photo for this release will be available via Marketwire on the picture wire of The Canadian Press.

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin made its first trip to the historic Circuit Mont-Tremblant, once home to the Canadian Grand Prix, for the fourth and fifth matches of its nine-race schedule.

Going in to the weekend, Jean-Frederic Laberge held a slim four-point lead in the standings over second-place Etienne Borgeat. Qualifying seemed to only underscore the obvious: that this weekend would be a race for the top of the championship standings. The two series leaders lined up side-by-side on the front row with points leader Laberge on pole.

The weekend also marked the arrival of a new sponsor, FedEx Trade Networks. "Porsche is proud to welcome FedEx Trade Networks as an official sponsor during this exciting season of the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin," said Joe Lawrence, President and CEO of Porsche Canada.

Mont-Tremblant provided a weekend of glorious sunshine, warm breezes and spectacular scenery. As the 19-car field accelerated past the green flag at the 2.65-mile course, all seemed well, with the exception of Michael Levitas, who spun just after turn one - a victim of some first-turn pushing and shoving. The race settled in to tight, competitive packs, with Laberge at the head of the field with Borgeat, Cirone, de Quesada and last year's series champion, Perry Bortolotti in hot pursuit.

After a half-dozen laps, Laberge, supported by Porsche Prestige, and Borgeat, sponsored by Lauzon Porsche, had separated themselves from the pack . Borgeat then passed Laberge to take the lead just past the half-way point in the race. Then, while trying to re-pass Borgeat in turn seven, Laberge went in too deep and crashed into the tire barrier, putting him out of the race and bringing out a full-course yellow along with the safety car.

Once the heavily-damaged car of Laberge was removed from danger, the field took the green, with Borgeat in the lead, de Quesada in second, Cirone in third and Bortolotti in fourth. Jeff Pabst, substituting for Kyle Marcelli in the Pfaff /Fiorano 911 GT3 Cup, and Anthony Mantella rounded out the top six spots.

While Borgeat was under contestant pressure from de Quesada and Cirone, neither could get past the Montreal native, as the top six finished in that order.

Bruce Gregory held on to win the Gold class title from second place finisher Tim Sanderson, who in turn was followed home by Robert Maranda in third.

The Silver class winner by 1.2 seconds over second-place Leho Poldmae was Robert Seitz, who has won every Silver class race in series history. Third place in Silver went to Gabor Foti.

Platinum Class
1. Etienne Borgeat Montreal, QC Lauzon Porsche/GT Racing
2. Carlos de Quesada Tampa, FL Alegra Fiorano Racing
3. Marco Cirone Toronto, ON 6th Gear Racing
Gold Class
1. Bruce Gregory Kanata, ON SpeedMerchants
2. Tim Sanderson Pickering, ON Fiorano Racing
3. Robert Maranda Ottawa, ON SpeedMerchants
Silver Class
1. Robert Seitz Toronto, ON Downtown Porsche/6th Gear Racing
2. Leho Poldmae Baltimore, MD TPC Racing
3. Gabor Foti Thornhill, ON Fiorano Racing

SECOND RACE

The grid for Sunday's race was determined by the lap times set in Saturday's race. Once again, the two top points-leading drivers were on the front row, though their positions were swapped, with Etienne Borgeat on pole. The fact that Jean-Frederic Laberge was able to start at all was a testament to his SpeedMerchants team, who had to extensively rebuild two corners of his race car.

As opposed to the Saturday's race, the field did not make it past turn one before three cars came together, all looking for the same piece of track. When the dust settled, Carlos de Quesada and Jeff Pabst were both out of the race. The other principle in the melee, Perry Bortolotti, was able to proceed without any damage.

By the end of the first lap, it was Jean-Frederic Laberge in first, followed by Marco Cirone, who had made a brilliant start, in second; Etienne Borgeat, after a poor start, in third; Perry Bortolotti in fourth; Martin Harvey in fifth and Jim Hoddinott in sixth.

The accident brought out the safety car, which kept the field bunched up. On the restart, Laberge led from Cirone, with Borgeat in third and Bortolotti in fourth. Cirone was under pressure from Borgeat off and on throughout the race as he, in turn, pressured Laberge for the lead.

"The gauges started to go up almost as soon as the race started," said Laberge. "The team did a great job getting the car together, but there was obviously damage from yesterday they couldn't see."

Cirone hounded Laberge most of the race, with Laberge trying to hang on despite coolant leaking on his rear tires, making the drive extra slippery. With about 12 minutes left to go in the 45-minute race, Borgeat finally passed Cirone and immediately began to reel in Laberge.

"Etienne is a fantastic driver and I just couldn't hold him off any longer," said Cirone, a multiple race winner himself.

Once by Cirone, Borgeat proceeded to catch Laberge, who admitted he had very little left with his engine temperature rising. "I didn't want to lose or ruin the engine, but I certainly don't want to imply that I let Etienne by. He earned it fairly. It was a great race."

It was a sentiment expressed by many of his fellow competitors. "After yesterday's pushing and shoving, there was certainly some tension," said Robert Maranda, second-place finisher in the Gold class. "It was tough, close racing and it was even tougher because my tires went off after about the two-thirds point in the race."

Eventual Gold class winner Bruce Gregory said it was "the race of the year. We went at it hard the whole way. It was really a lot of fun out there."

The Silver class winner was once again Robert Seitz. "We had some oil issues," said Seitz. "But it was a great race. First, Gabor (Foti) dogged me until he used up his tires, then Leho (Poldmae) tried like heck to catch me. He overcooked it going in to turn 12 and hit the wall. That brought out the last full course yellow and the Safety Car. It was a bit of a shame we had to finish under yellow."

Seitz kept his undefeated string intact in the Silver class. "It is an honour, I must say. And I could not have done it without the backing and support from my 6th Gear Racing team or Downtown Porsche."

Platinum Class
1. Etienne Borgeat Montreal, QC Lauzon Porsche/GT Racing
2. Jean-Frederic Laberge Montreal, QC Porsche Prestige/SpeedMerchants
3. Marco Cirone Toronto, ON 6th Gear Racing
Gold Class
1. Bruce Gregory Kanata, ON SpeedMerchants
2. Robert Maranda Ottawa, ON SpeedMerchants
3. Shaun McKaigue Gilford, ON Pfaff Porsche/Fiorano Racing
Silver Class
1. Robert Seitz Toronto, ON Downtown Porsche/6th Gear Racing
2. Gabor Foti Thornhill, ON Fiorano Racing
3. Leho Poldmae Baltimore, MD TPC Racing

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