OTTAWA’S BORTOLOTTI TAKES FIRST EVER PORSCHE GT3 CUP CHALLENGE CANADA POLE
CALABOGIE, ON (May 14, 2011) – Rainy conditions greeted the drivers for the first ever qualifying session of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada, but that couldn’t dampen the spirits of Ottawa’s Perry Bortolotti as he became the first ever Platinum Cup pole sitter for the 20th worldwide Porsche GT3 series, debuting this weekend at Calabogie Motorsports Park.
Toronto’s Marco Cirone gave him a scare toward the end of qualifying, posting a 2:21.784 to Bortolotti’s 2:21.051, but Bortolotti knows this track better than anyone in the field and it showed in his performance, despite the difficult conditions.
“That’s what we like – nice, close racing,” said Bortolotti, driving the #84 SpeedMerchants/Fiorano Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. “Marco is an excellent driver and he’s definitely coming up to speed here. There was a ton of standing water out there, so this was the slowest it’s been all day. It’s fantastic to have the first ever pole for the series – that was our objective coming in, but the point is to bring home the victory.”
Cirone (#88 6th Gear Racing/Italform) starts second in Platinum Cup and will be happy to take the green next to the guy with all the experience at Calabogie.
“I don’t have very many hours in the rain in this car,” explained Cirone, “so I was experimenting with the limits, which can be quite scary here. With all the water coming up, when you’re behind someone, the visibility is so affected, so with all the weather conditions I’m pretty happy with our time. If it’s dry tomorrow, that will change things, so it could get really interesting. But Perry’s definitely the man to beat.”
Martin Harvey (#08 Wingho Motorsport Racing/McDonalds) earned the Gold Cup pole ahead of Shaun McKaigue (#34 Fiorano Racing) and was pleased to have survived the soggy qualifying session.
“It was very exciting – rain rain rain!” sighed Harvey. “But this is a fabulous track, I really like this track. We had some places with a lot of water, but you have to just keep the car on the track.”
As the only car in Silver Cup, Bob Seitz (#58 SpeedMerchants/Fiorano Racing) will happily take the pole in his class and bide his time in the race – like all the drivers, hoping for better weather tomorrow.
“There was a lot more standing water than in the practice sessions,” said Seitz. “So it made it challenging. The tires came in after five or six laps so we could just let it rip. So my plan for tomorrow is to lie back a little bit, let the rest of the crowd do their thing, lay down consistent laps and keep it in one piece.”
The series is divided into three classes; Platinum Cup, featuring the more powerful 2011 and 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars; Gold Cup, which includes 2005½ - 2009 Porsches; and Silver Cup for 2002 – 2005½ Porsches. All three classes run on Michelin tires.
Three events comprise the inaugural season of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada: May 14-15 at Calabogie Motorsports Park (Calabogie, Ontario), June 3-5 at Circuit ICAR (Mirabel, Quebec) and ending the season on the same racing card as their American counterparts July 23-24 at the Mobil 1 Presents the Grand Prix of Mosport.