In a race in which it seemed no one wanted to keep the lead, Scott Hargrove (above, middle) was the last man standing and expanded his championship lead in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin.
Hargrove, 19, from Surrey, British Columbia, won Round 5 of the season Saturday, July 19 in the No. 69 OpenRoad Racing Porsche GT3 Cup car on the Streets of Toronto. The victory was his fourth in five starts this season for Vancouver-based OpenRoad Racing.
"Four wins in five rounds now, so it's been a phenomenal year, and we are going to try and keep this going," championship leader Hargrove said.
Round 6 is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. (ET) Sunday, July 20 on the Streets of Toronto. Hargrove leads Chris Green, 98-84, in the championship after five rounds.
Marco Cirone (above, left), from Toronto, finished second Saturday on his hometown track in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing Porsche, 6.702 seconds behind Hargrove. It was the first overall podium finish of the season for Cirone, who expanded his Platinum Masters (drivers 45 and older) championship lead.
Santiago Creel (above, right), from Mexico City, placed third overall in the No. 60 Wright Motorsports entry. It was the first Canadian series start for Creel, a regular in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.
Platinum Masters competitor Perry Bortolotti, from Kanata, Ontario, placed fourth overall in the No. 84 Mark Motors Racing Porsche.
Jerimy Daniel, from Candiac, Quebec, placed fifth overall in the No. 75 TRC Porsche that competes in the Gold Cup (2010-2013 car models) championship. The result tied the best overall finish this season by a Gold Cup driver, as Daniel also was fifth in Round 2 in May at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario.
Daniel and Tim Sanderson are tied, 84-84, atop the Gold Cup standings after this event.
Hargrove and championship rivals Green and Spencer Pigot each led and then lost the front spot during the 36-minute race, shorted from the scheduled 45 minutes due to track repair after a previous race in another series.
Green led the first five laps in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche after earning his second pole position of the season earlier this morning. But Green slid sideways into the wall in Turn 8 on the sixth lap, shortly after light rain started to fall around the 11-turn, 1.75-mile temporary street circuit. Hargrove zoomed past into the top spot while Green dropped in the running order.
Montreal resident Green continued but finished 12th, his first result outside of the top two this season.
Hargrove then led the next seven laps before spinning in Turn 8, handing the lead to Pigot. Hargrove recovered quickly from the spin to take second.
Championship leader Hargrove trimmed Pigot's lead from 1.714 seconds to .833 of a second during the next six minutes. Then Pigot, from Orlando, Florida, suffered a tough break as he sought his first victory of the season in the No. 21 Alegra Motorsports Porsche.
A belt broke on Pigot's car, causing his engine to overheat and fluid to trail from his car. Pigot slowed, handing the lead back to Hargrove, also his rival in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires junior open-wheel series.
Pigot was forced to the pits, out of the race in 15th place.
Hargrove admitted he nearly spun in the fluid from Pigot's car, but he kept control over the final five laps to earn the wild victory.
"I just got into the wall a little bit and then coming into the brake zone I just locked up the rear tires, and once that happens you are just along for the ride," Hargrove said. "I got away with it, but of course I lost the lead and then Spencer had his problem, and it was a little hairy with the antifreeze coming out all over the track and following right behind him."
Daniel earned his third Gold Cup victory of the season after starting from the class pole. But the win didn't come without strong resistance from Sanderson.
Sanderson, from Pickering, Ontario, pulled to within .768 of a second of Daniel with 15 minutes left in the race in the No. 07 Alegra Motorsports/Northwest Atlantic Motorsports Porsche. But Daniel gradually eased away over the closing laps, leading Sanderson to the finish by 2.720 seconds.
"We had really good strategy, and I only ran two laps in qualifying that gave me the second position, and I had really good tires for the race," Daniel said. "Even at the last lap, my Michelin tires were really good."
Ilker Starck, from Toronto, finished third in Gold in the No. 48 SCB Racing/Downtown Porsche entry.
Chuck Harris, from Tampa, Florida, continued his perfect record in Silver Cup (2005 ½-2009 model cars) with his fifth victory in the class this season in the No. 50 Alegra Motorsports 911 GT3 Cup car. Teammate Keith Bass, also from Tampa, Florida, was second in the No. 49 Alegra Motorsports entry.
For more information on the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin, visit www.imsa.com and @IMSA on Twitter with the hashtag #GT3CAN. Live commentary for both races will be provided on Twitter at @IMSALive.
Photo by IMSA