Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports Starts 2013 Season on Top
Bowmanville, Ontario, (May 18, 2013) - The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin drivers may barbecue together off the track, but on track they are fierce competitors. Tight battles took place within the field at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Saturday, May 18, but the participants kept the race clean at the 2013 Castrol Presents Victoria Day Speedfest Weekend.
"The competitors are all very close and they've been racing together for quite some time," said IMSA Race Director Randy Hembrey. "While they're friendly they're also very competitive on course and I think that's going to make for a great racing season. Hopefully this race is an indication of what is to come the rest of the season."
Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports started the 2013 season on a high note, producing two Platinum Cup podium finishes in the first of two 45-minute races. Spencer Pigot led the field flag-to-flag and teammate Chris Green finished in second. Pigot maintained speed throughout the 32 laps, posting his fastest time on lap 16 of the circuit.
"We'd like to give a special thanks to our new sponsors Richard Carter and Jason Delgado," said Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports team manager Andy Green.
Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports came together with BuyDirectTele.com and Norcomm.net to help bring Pigot to the effort. The partnership formed just before the Castrol Presents Victoria Day Speedfest Weekend and Pigot will also join the team for the 2013 Grand Prix du Canada in Montreal.
"It went pretty perfect," Pigot said. "We were able to get a good lead off the start, made a little mistake in the middle that allowed David (Ostella) to catch up and it was pretty close there for awhile and I just had to keep pushing to keep him behind me and eventually with the traffic I was able to get a gap with him. I'm very happy with the weekend so far and can't thank the guys at Alegra and Pfaff enough to be here."
Green's run to a second-place finish started on lap two when he passed rookie David Ostella after making contact at Turn 5B. Ostella wouldn't let Green by easily, however, and seven laps later was back in front for second position. As Ostella made runs at the leader, Green continued to creep up on the 21-year-old and eventually passed Ostella on the 29th lap with five minutes remaining.
"I have to give a huge congratulations to Spencer, a class of his own, he was able to sort out the car and figure out the car and be the best of us," Green said. "I'm really proud of him, myself, we were struggling with the car and massive oversteer. Overall I'm very happy. I think the Pfaff and Alegra guys did an excellent drive and I'm happy for Castrol to be second today. I'll take the points!"
Although Ostella was never able to pass Pigot and finished fifth overall, he produced some impressive numbers including setting a race lap record in his first closed-cockpit car, battling the fellow former open-wheel racer. On lap 10 Ostella began the chase to Pigot, posting the fastest lap in the field at that point. He followed it with another fastest time on lap 11 and shortened the gap to just seven tenths in lap 17, but a minor racing incident with a lapped car ultimately slowed his progress.
With only two laps to go, GT Racing's Jean-Frederic Laberge made a pass into third position after holding onto fourth for the majority of the race. The Montreal native is pleased with making it to the podium after having difficulty with the new set of tires.
"We didn't try the tires before we came on Friday, so I tried those new tires," Laberge said. "We tried whatever we could and managed to finish on the podium but the next race is going to be better I think. We're learning the tires every time we're on the track."
Tim Sanderson opened up the 2013 season with a first-place finish. Sanderson represents Racing for Joanne's House this season and moved up from the 12th starting position to finish 11th overall in Race 1 of the Castrol Presents Victoria Day Speedfest. His time best lap of 1:24.116 is now a track-best time in the Gold Cup category.
While Carlos de Quesada of Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports finished second and was followed by Martin Barkey with Fiorano/Garage Racing, who finished third, both drivers were experiencing series "firsts." Today's event was Barkey's first green flag in Series competition, and De Quesada was learning his Gold Cup car in his first race in that class.
Tim Sanderson: First Place Gold Cup
"I had a wonderful race, a bit lonely but the start was good and it was fun. We had consistent laps which is important."
Carlos de Quesada: Second Place Gold Cup
"I'm still trying to figure out the Gold car but had a good run. We've got some work to do but we'll figure it out. Second place isn't bad at all. I want to thank BuyDirectTele.com, Norcomm.net, Vitalz and Ice."
Martin Barkey: Third Place Gold Cup
"It was a great day, first Canadian Cup race and end up on the steps here. Third place, we'll take it."
Race 2 takes place at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Sunday, May 19 at 11:30 a.m. ET. For series news and updates, follow us on Twitter @GT3Canada or on Facebook.
The Masters Championship
Marco Cirone and Mark Motors Racing won the first Masters Championship race of the 2013 season and finished fourth overall at the Canadian Tire Motosport Park in Race 1. Cirone moved into fourth position with only a few minutes left in the race after holding the fifth position for the majority of the race.
Etienne Borgeat placed second in the Masters Championship and sixth overall, maintaing his starting position. Borgeat vied for position with his close friend Anthony Mantella, who finished third. Mantella and SpeedMerchants started in eighth position and moved up to sixth just eight laps into the race. Borgeat and Mantella finished sixth and seventh overall, respectively.
Marco Cirone: First Place Masters Championship
"That was an incredible race. Those kids were super fast, so it was hard to keep up with them. I was behind J-F (Laberge) and I got really close and I think I just pushed a little too much and my tires went off and then I noticed I started slipping a little bit and he started pulling away. At that point I decided I better protect my position. I want to thank my crew for giving me such a great car. I could've done a little bit better job and hopefully tomorrow I can."
Etienne Borgeat: Second Place Masters Championship
"We had to figure out the tires that we tried yesterday for the first time so my mind was on how to set up the car to make sure we get the best out of the tires. I started the race and didn't know what to expect and there's a couple of guys that really improved this winter or maybe I'm out of shape but we'll figure it out in a couple of races."
Anthony Mantella: Third Place Masters Championship
"I learned a lot from Etienne he's a great mentor and accomplished driver and to see him on my tail it was a little intimidating. I'm so happy, the car performed awesome. I didn't save the rear tires because I was trying to get away from Etienne but tomorrow I'll stay ahead of him."
Two tenths separated the top three drivers in the 30-minute qualifying session. Spencer Pigot clinched the pole with a time of 1:21.201 to open the season at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Pigot posted his fastest time on lap seven of the circuit.
"Qualifying seemed to go really well we were able to make some changes for the car from practice and it really seemed to help," Pigot said.
Rookie driver David Ostella with Speedmerchants was just one tenth behind - posting a time of 1:21.339 on his sixth lap around the track. Finishing in third position was Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports' Chris Green.
The top four times all broke the previous GT3 Platinum Cup record at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
Tim Sanderson and Fiorano Racing for Joanne's House led the Gold Cup in qualifications. Sanderson posted his fastest lap early on in just his fourth time around the track. Sanderson was trailed by SportsCarBoutique's new entry Andrew Danyliw for second position. In third was Carlos de Quesada and Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports.
In the Masters Championship, Mark Motors Racing driver Marco Cirone topped the qualifying results with a time of 1.22:320 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. He was followed by Etienne Borgeat and GT Racing for second position and SpeedMerchants' Jim Hoddinott in third position amongst the Masters competitors. Hoddinott posted his fastest lap late in qualifications, 17 laps into the session.