Porsche Cars Canada

Porsche Cars Canada
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada

July 23, 2012 09:17 ET

Top Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin Competitors Hold Serve for Championship Chase for Two Rounds at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport)

BOWMANVILLE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 23, 2012) -

Editors Note: A photo for this release is available on the CP picture wire via Marketwire.

For the Porsche GT3 Challenge Canada by Michelin drivers, with only one race weekend left in their series, the top championship contenders were jostling for points as well as positions in their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formerly known as Mosport).

"It was a thrilling weekend at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for Porsche as well as its owners and fans," said Joe Lawrence, president of Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd.

"We had more than 200 Porsche Club guests, and not only did they witness two great GT3 events, but saw a great GT battle in the American Le Mans Series race," added Lawrence.

The first race, late Saturday afternoon began without incident as pole winner J.F. Laberge (Montreal) in his Porsche Prestige/SpeedMerchants Porsche was hard on the heels of unclassified guest driver Kyle Marcelli (Toronto) of Pfaff/Fiorano Racing, who was not eligible to score points because of his status as a professional race car driver. Thus, Laberge was classified in first place, with GT Racing entry of Etienne Borgeat (Montreal) second and Marco Cirone (Toronto) of 6th Gear Racing third.

Cirone made an early move on Borgeat, but as the battle heated up and the two swapped positions, Cirone was caught up in an incident with three others on lap seven. As the dust settled over the full-course-caution, it was clear that Cirone and Peter Collins (Boyton Beach, FL) of MGM Racing were unable to continue. Other involved entries were Michael Levitas (Baltimore, MD) of TPC Racing and the Wright Motorsports Porsche of John Baker (NYC).

Almost immediately after the 20-minute caution, the Gold Cup Class saw Chris Green (Montreal) of Downtown Porsche/SportsCarBoutique battling near the front with the more powerful Platinum Cup cars. He went on to set a new race lap record for Gold Cup.

On his charge to the front, Green and Borgeat traded positions just behind Laberge and Marcelli, turning up the pressure on the leaders. Late in the race, as Borgeat chased down Laberge with a hard run into Turn 10, the two made contact. Laberge continued on after his spin, but Borgeat was assessed a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact, forcing him to relinquish his Platinum Cup lead.

This turn of events pushed Carlos de Quesada (Tampa, FL) and his Alegra Fiorano Porsche into the lead, with Green moving into position behind him, followed by Perry Bortolotti (Kanata, ON), who was having a great run for Mark Motors of Ottawa/6th Gear Racing. Marcelli crossed the finish line first, but his unclassified status called for the overall race win to go to Platinum Cup's de Quesada.

"I always knew I could do it," said the elated de Quesada. "For me, I get down a little bit on myself for qualifying, as I have never been a great qualifier but a great racer. I can always flip the quicker laps during the race and I just held my pace and put my head down and stayed in there and the race just came my way. It was a race of attrition and the guys up front were running really hard and wearing down their tires and mine were just perfect the whole way."

In his first event this season, Green was able to capture the second step of the overall podium and first in Gold class. This was the first overall top-three finish by a Gold competitor this season.

"What can I tell you? SportsCarBoutique [SCB Racing] gave me great car and I have to thank everyone who believed in me, so all I had to do today was deliver it!" said Green.

Taking third overall and second in Platinum Class, Bortolotti captured his third podium and his sixth top-five this season.

"I am really happy for my finish but sad for my partner, Marco Cirone," said Bortolotti. "He's the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park king so it was really unfortunate. But it was survival at the end and there were several fast guys out there. But the end was a bit of a mess so you just take advantage when you can!"

Another touch of Gold followed as SpeedMerchants' Robert Maranda captured the second place finish in class. He entered this weekend's event with a previous injury which made his finish all the more impressive.

"I am pretty badly hurt actually," said Maranda. "I think my ankle may actually be broken. And it was worse today than the day before, which is not a good sign. But honestly once you are in the car you feel zero. I felt great in the car and it was so well set up. There were some fast drivers out there, so I got a little lucky. But at the end of the day you have to finish to win it, and second place was a great effort!"

Rounding out the top-three in Platinum was John Ellis of Wright Motorsports, as Bruce Gregory completed the Podium in Gold Cup for SpeedMerchants. It was Gregory's fifth top-ten in classified positions this season.

"You know it was really just one spin and one car getting caught up in the spin and then it was just a mess of everyone trying to get through," said Gregory of the multi-car incident during the race. "It really mixed the field up which was kind of unfortunate. And we ended up with some cars in between Rob [Maranda] and I. But overall it was a great race. I was honestly amazed when they told me I was on the podium. I was not expecting to be on the podium for this race, so I will take it!"

The Silver Cup was once again won by Robert Seitz of Downtown Porsche/6th Gear Racing. He enjoyed some early speed and was able to hold off fellow Silver competitors drivers Leho Poldmae of TPC Racing and the SCB Racing entry of Gabor Foti.

"I got a great start and followed Sean McKaigue in turn one and got a bit of a jump on the other two as they were racing each other," said Seitz. "And my tires came in in just one lap, so I was off to the races! I am not sure what my times were, but they felt really fast. So I just followed the Gold guys and put a gap on the rest of my class, but once we went full-course [caution], Leho [Poldmae] was right back on me, and again, right off the restart my Michelins were perfect and I took one lap to get up to full speed and then I just took off."

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin - 45 minutes - Race II - Sunday AM

After a morning shower which left the race track damp, but not wet, the second round of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin took the green flag on Sunday morning.

Continuing a local tradition of inclement weather for the second round of the weekend double-header, mother nature threw a curve ball at the sleek Porsche 911 machines as a rainstorm quickly blew through and soaked the 3.957-kilometer, 10-turn circuit. Although the brief shower cleared quickly, the 45-minute feature race began under sunny skies and very wet track conditions.

Pro Driver Kyle Marcelli made a guest appearance in his Pfaff/Floriano entry and led the field from the green flag all the way to the checkered for round seven on the series schedule. His unclassified status makes for a very impressive performance, however, no points or official standing will be accumulated for his finish. But it was his expertise that took the field of GT3 Cup cars to a safe and steady start.

"I have to say that these Michelin slicks are pretty good in wet conditions," he laughed. "It was a bit tricky at the beginning and it's always even more difficult when you are leading the start of a race, especially on slick tires. You really don't know what the conditions are like so you have to start slow and build speed gradually. So I know these guys hung on to me a little bit at the beginning until I felt confident enough to push."

Current points leader Etienne Borgeat of Porsche Lauzon/GT Racing was just one of those "guys" as he followed Marcelli from pole position at the green flag, all the way to the first step on the Platinum podium. Borgeat was clearly focused on improving his 14th place overall finish from Saturday to regain some championship ground.

"Yesterday was a hectic race," said the Montreal resident. "But at least we had the chance to score a fast lap time to put me on the pole for today. At the beginning of the race, the track was still wet, so I wasn't sure what our pace would be. Kyle [Marcelli] was being really really safe and I was following him to find the spots that were dry and wet. So I was able to just fly out and run by myself for the majority of the race. It's traffic from mid-race to the end that was a bit more complicated running into lapped cars. But I was really happy with where we ended up this weekend."

And hard on his heels, also in an attempt to make up for an on-track incident yesterday, Porsche Prestige/SpeedMerchants driver JF Laberge started from the seventh position on the grid and charged hard to make up for yesterday's lost time to finish in second just behind Borgeat.

"We started in seventh today, and ended up third overall and second in Platinum so not too bad today," he quipped, shaking his head. "The car was pretty good, but it was set up for rain. So we could have been faster, but everyone did a great job and the track was crazy fast today."

Mark Motors of Ottawa/6th Gear Racing rounded out the top three in Platinum class with another amazing performance by the team and Perry Bortolotti, who was surprised to once again take a podium finish on the historic and wickedly fast circuit.

"I am just elated," he grinned. "I didn't really have a lot of high hopes coming into this track after my last showing here and things just seemed to come together. Yesterday I got lucky and today my starting position was everything. So I got away to a good start and maintained. But my teammate Marco [Cirone] had a big hit yesterday, and the guys worked all night to put the car back together and he was running 22's. So kudos to him and it was a great weekend."

Due to big contact yesterday between the MGM Gold Cup entry of Peter Collins and Marco Cirone of 6th Gear, which caused a long full-course caution and extensive damage to Cirone's No. 88 car, the team worked diligently through the night to not only get the car on the grid for the start of the race, but produce a car capable of winning today.

"The job that my guys did was amazing," said an awestruck Cirone who hails from nearby Toronto. "I showed up this morning and a couple of guys were asleep on the floor. They had worked all night and didn't eat so it's just remarkable what they did. And that's why I love those guys. Not only are they my teammates and crew but they are like my family. They take care of me when I am out there and they did so much that I was just happy that I could perform well today. That car ran as good now as it did in qualifying. Just an amazing job."

Cirone was able to finish in fifth place overall in today's event due to the tireless efforts of his team.

Newcomer Chris Green of SCB brought new meaning to the term "Gold" this weekend as his amazing lap times have placed his Gold Class entry in the thick of Platinum competition and earned him two wins this weekend in class. He was able to hold off Bruce Gregory and his SpeedMerchants entry to take the top step on the Podium and finish in sixth place overall.

"It was a repeat of yesterday," he joked. "I just tried to keep out of trouble on the first lap. A couple of the guys got throttle-happy on the start and I just tried to avoid that and kept the car in control. Unfortunately I had a little incident near the middle of the race and was cut off by a Silver entry and managed to flat-spot all four tires. So 25 minutes on squares was a bit interesting. But it makes me understand how the Flintstones felt 4,000 years ago."

Bruce Gregory made a huge jump up the field from his starting position of 14th to keep Green honest on their way to the checkered flag, but knew he didn't have enough to take the newcomer at the finish.

"It was a great race and it was all at the start," he said. "It was a damp track but we had three laps to scout it out and it seemed pretty dry so I just went all out on the start. I gapped the guys behind me by three or four car lengths but I knew I wasn't going to catch Chris [Green]. So I basically just worked on hitting my marks as I was all by myself out there today, which is pretty hard to do with the traffic we were running in."

Peter Collins, who was involved in the incident with Cirone yesterday was also grateful to the efforts of his MGM team to repair his Gold class Porsche to ensure that he was not only back on the grid for another exciting round of Canadian GT3 Cup action, but he finished in third place on the class podium.

"The team did a great job putting my car back together after yesterday's incident," said Collins. "MGM stayed up late and made sure I had a car that was ready to race. When Marco [Cirone] and I got together yesterday I thought my weekend was done, and to be on the grid this morning is a testament to the team and I couldn't be more thankful. The racing today was great. The first two or three laps were a bit wet and I wasn't that aggressive due to wrecking yesterday and Bruce Gregory was able to pull a little gap on me. But overall it was a great race and I just couldn't be happier with my team and my finish!"

The two damaged cars were able to achieve their miraculous recovery due not only to the dedicated effort by both crews, but also with the help of on-site parts and customer service provided by Porsche Motorsport North America.

The ever-colorful Bob "Doc" Seitz brought his No. 58 Downtown Porsche/6th Gear Racing entry home ahead of season-long rivals Gabor Foti of SCB and Leho Poldmae of TPC Racing. Poldmae contended both races this weekend while mildly ill, making his performance all the more impressive.

Seitz, proudly sporting the Gulf Colors on his Silver 2005 996 Porsche GT3 Cup car parked at the podium for an amazing 12th consecutive class victory with his ever-present sidekick Elmo riding on the dash for luck.

"Again, the car was perfect right off the get-go," he said. "It was a bit slick out there in the first few laps so we were tip-toeing around a bit but I just wanted to keep the Gold guys in sight. And I knew if I could do that I could put a gap on the Silver cars. And then I just drove the wheels off of it for the remainder of the race. The track came in beautifully and the tires were perfect and the car was set up absolutely right for these conditions. So that's a 12-pack!"

The next and final rounds of competition for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin is the Championship finale at Calabogie Motorsports Park August 9-11 in Calabogie, ON.

Porsche GT3 Cup Canada by Michelin
Mobil 1 Presents the Grand Prix of Mosport
Event Race Results
Round 6 Saturday Round 7 Sunday
Platinum Cup Platinum Cup
1: Carlos de Quesada 1: Etienne Borgeat
2: Perry Bortolotti 2: Jean-Frederic Laberge
3: John Ellis 3: Perry Bortolotti
Gold Cup Gold Cup
1: Chris Green 1: Chris Green
2: Robert Maranda 2: Bruce Gregory
3: Bruce Gregory 3: Peter Collins
Silver Cup Silver Cup
1: Robert Seitz 1: Robert Seitz
2: Leho Poldmae 2: Gabor Foti
3: Gabor Foti 3: Leho Poldmae

About IMSA

The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) has been the premier sanctioning body for professional road racing in North American since its founding in 1969. As a member of the Automobile Competition Committee of the United States (ACCUS), IMSA sanctions and officiates events with unmatched integrity where sportsmanship and safety are ingrained in its culture. In this environment, the world's leading automotive manufacturers, its best drivers and most creative engineers push the limits of innovation in their quest for success. IMSA, based in Braselton, Ga., is a member of the Panoz Motor Sports Group.

About Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin is one of three official Development Series sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). It is also the fastest-growing single-make series in North America. The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin produces intense, exciting competition for semi-professional drivers alongside some of the most promising career-minded GT drivers in the world's most successful and iconic race cars, the Porsche 911 GT3, and on classic Canadian road circuits such as Mont-Tremblant and Mosport.

For more information on the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin, visit www.imsachallenge.ca or Facebook and @GT3Canada on Twitter.

About Michelin

Michelin places all its know-how and innovative skills at the service of the mobility of goods and people throughout the world. Michelin develops, manufactures and sells tires for all types of vehicles: planes, automobiles, bicycles, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks and motorbikes. Michelin also publishes travel guides, maps and atlases for countries throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. (www.michelin.ca), headquartered in Laval, Quebec, employs more than 3,700 people and operates three plants.

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