MONTREAL’S BORGEAT SHAKES THE MOUNTAIN IN MONT-TREMBLANT
The First of Two Races This Weekend Defines the Course for Porsche GT3 Cup Fans
The charming City of Mont-Tremblant in the Laurentian mountains of Quebec, Canada, is famous for its ski resorts and other peaceful outdoor activities such as hiking and canoeing. But during this weekend’s Summer Classic at Circuit Mont-Tremblant, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin is reminding visitors why local Algonquin named the City the "trembling mountain.”
In Race 1 of two races this weekend, the 2.65-mile, 15-turn road course saw action, incidents, and the season’s first full-course-caution as a result of contact in Turn 7 for Jean-Frederic Laberge and his SpeedMerchants entry.
The elevation changes, blind apexes, and high-speed corners of the former Formula 1 circuit would continue to provide challenges for competitors, tires, and equipment for the rest of the 45-minute sprint to the finish.
On the restart that would follow, eventual Platinum Cup winner Etienne Borgeat of GT Racing leaped to an extended lead as the rest of the field created a snarl behind him.
Carlos de Quesada and his No. 21 Alegra Fiorano entry played it cool and steered clear of the skirmishes to take the second place position on the podium.
“It was a good race,” he said. “Yesterday the track conditions were really bad, but we went out today and the car handled beautifully. The track conditions were fine and I just followed the guys and let them battle it out while waiting for mistakes to happen. And they did, so I just slid right into second and maintained my position.”
6th Gear Racing took the third place spot with Marco Cirone at the wheel, despite a sharp learning curve that nearly put him out of contention.
“I am very happy that I finished on the podium,” he said. “But on that restart I picked up so much debris on my tires that I actually thought there was something wrong with my car. I had so much vibration that I pulled over to let a few guys go by because I thought there was something wrong with my car, but my crew chief told me to drive it, drive it! So I just kept going and managed to pick up a position, so I guess third is better than nothing. But I learned from my mistakes so that won’t happen again!"
Unfortunately for SpeedMerchant’s Platinum Cup driver Jim Hoddinott, his day ended early as he spun and found the guardrail before spinning back into traffic. His fellow GT3 Cup drivers quickly checked up behind him, but not quickly enough for Wingho Motorsports Racing Inc. driver Martin Harvey who spun in avoidance.
Both occurred in front of a majority of the Porsche GT3 cars on track, but fortunately, they all made it through the incident unscathed. Hoddinott however, was forced to park his Porsche, while Harvey continued on to finish on the lead lap.
SpeedMerchants was able to recoup the loss as Bruce Gregory took home the Gold Class victory, and teammate Robert Maranda followed up in third place, just behind Tim Sanderson of Fiorano Racing.
“It was a really tough race,” said Maranda. “But I had plenty of speed and the car was set up really well. We got into a little bumping and shoving match a few times and I lost some space and position, and it was a struggle to get it back. One of the things about the series which is really nice is you have a lot of drivers at different skill levels which is one of its strengths. But you don’t always know each other’s skill level and sometimes people take chances and it ends up costing both of you. But I pushed hard and the car was really great and I am glad to get on the podium at least. I worked hard the last two laps to get there and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
The rest of the race saw the three classes of competition – Platinum, Gold, and Silver – all fighting for position within class and overall, with 16 of the 19 entries finishing on the lead lap together.
The Silver Class brought a tight battle that was ultimately won by the always-colorful Bob “Doc” Seitz, who was able to hold off TPC Racing entry Leho Poldmae and Gabor Foti to take the top spot on the Silver podium.
“My race started out pretty good,” said Doc. “Got a great start and got a bit of a jump on the other two Silver cars and then it was mayhem right off the bat. A bunch of cars got together in Turn 2 and we had a ringside seat. But we managed to avoid everything and keep the car under control in the first three laps of mayhem. Eventually I got the car under me and just took off from there. Gabor (Foti) and Leho (Poldmae) kept me honest all day. Gabor chased me the whole race and then they fell back a little bit and started fighting each other and that let me gap out so I could ease back toward the end of the race.”
While the cars range from the Silver Cup 2002 - 2005½ 996 Porsches to the more powerful 2010 - 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, the drivers progressing in the GT3 Cup Canada series proved today they have the mettle to keep themselves within sight of the leaders no matter the challenge of the “trembling mountain.”
Sunday, July 8 will see those pilots take on the Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Race 2 at 1:25 pm Eastern for a 45-minute feature where the action promises to extract more ‘mettle’ from the mountain.