MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 08/12/13 -- The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin Series matched the illustrious reputation of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car with a distinguished, caution-free Race 1 at Circuit de Trois-Rivieres. The IMSA Development Series made its debut at the track in the 44th edition of the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres.
The 1.5-mile, 10-turn circuit is the first temporary street course that any Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge series has raced on in North America. In its opening competition, the drivers lit up the record books with historic performances and the veteran drivers' expertise was on full display.
Jean-Frederic Laberge of GT Racing took the checkered for the second consecutive time this season, regaining his brilliance from the 2012 season. Laberge got a jump on polesitter Chris Green in Lap 1, and held onto the lead for 40 total laps.
"I am happy to be back on the podium again," Laberge said. "I am now reclaiming my luster from last season. Everything is turning well. I am happy that Etienne (Borgeat) was on the podium with me."
GT Racing teammate Etienne Borgeat also shined in Round 7 of the 2013 season with a third-place finish to give the team significant Platinum Cup points. He charged from a ninth-place starting position to seize a third-place finish in the Platinum Cup.
In between the French Canadians was SpeedMerchants' David Ostella with his sixth podium finish of the season.
With nonstop action from start to finish, the battles in the middle of the pack were just as intense. Gold Cup competitors Carlos de Quesada of Pfaff/Alegra, Tim Sanderson and Martin Barkey exchanged positions in the many braking zones throughout the track that allow for clean passes. Barkey referred to his run in his Garage Racing entry as "wrestling" with the track as he adjusted to the tight turns and narrow stretches of the street circuit.
Ultimately, de Quesada won the top position for the Gold Cup, followed by Sanderson and Barkey.
GT Racing's Etienne Borgeat claimed his first Masters Championship win of the season with a 45-minute sprint performance in which he patiently picked off opponents to climb his way to the top. Borgeat's expertise was evident as he mastered the tricky and unique Circuit de Trois-Rivieres.
Marco Cirone battled against the odds on the temporary street circuit, starting from the last position on the grid to end up fourth in the Platinum Cup and second in the Masters Championship. The Mark Motors Racing driver had gained four positions by the fourth lap and pressured fellow drivers religiously until the checkered flag waved.
SpeedMerchants' Anthony Mantella battled with Mark Motors' Perry Bortolotti for several laps and moved onto another fight with Borgeat later in the race. Mantella kept it clean, just as the rest of the field, displaying the smooth passes the course allows for. He secures his sixth podium of the season with the third place finish.
Sunny skies and warm weather greeted the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin participants as they started their engines on the grid Sunday morning. Drivers and teams took the Circuit de Trois-Rivieres for the second round of the double header as fans filled the stands along the front straight.
Darryl O'Young made an appearance as a guest driver in his No. 69 SpeedMerchants entry and led the field from the green flag all the way to the checkered for Round Eight 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. His expertise took the field of GT3 Cup cars to a safe and steady start.
O'Young's significant lead left the usual fast suspects - Chris Green, JF Laberge and David Ostella to battle for the true podium spots. Laberge quickly passed Green on the first lap for second position and held it until Lap 10 when Green reclaimed the spot between Turn 2 and 3. Green pulled away after the gateway and maintained the position until the checkered.
"It was a good day and great little battle with JF (Laberge) at the beginning," Green said. "But I was able to get back on the top of the podium and now we're looking forward to the next two races."
In his winning performance, Green broke the new race lap record with a time of 1:05.655, two tenths faster than Laberge's best.
Ostella took the third place finish behind GT Racing's Laberge in second place.
Despite an incident with only five minutes remaining, Carlos de Quesada was able to finish on top of the Gold Cup class at Circuit de Trois-Rivieres for Round 8 of the 2013 season. The Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports driver overshot Turn 6 in the braking zone and had to gather himself back on the track, which diminished his 40-second lead over Tim Sanderson to almost 15 seconds. He was able to hang on for a few more laps to take the checkered.
Tim Sanderson earned his eighth podium of the year with a second place finish at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. Martin Barkey of Fiorano/Garage Racing overcame issues with the car from the day before to take a third place podium spot on Sunday's race.
All Gold Cup participants were also Gold Masters competitors this weekend.
Masters contenders Etienne Borgeat, Anthony Mantella and Marco Cirone jockeyed for the Masters lead in the first half of the 45-minute sprint. On Lap 22, Mantella starting picking up ground on leader Borgeat. Four laps later, only five tenths separated Mantella and Borgeat, with Cirone behind Mantella by only eight tenths. Entering the final 15 minutes of the race, Cirone made his way around Mantella in Turn 6 to take the second Masters position.
Cirone continued to push forward and gain on Borgeat, meanwhile Mantella took a spin in Turn 6 into the tire wall and lost his position to Perry Bortolotti for third Masters position. As race control made the command for "white flag next lap", Cirone made a pass on Borgeat in turn 9 for the Masters lead. The Mark Motors Racing driver was able to hold his position until the checkered and take his sixth win of the 2013 season. Cirone finished in fifth position in Platinum Cup, after starting the grid in tenth.
Green's victory on Sunday's race represented his third of the season. It puts the Quebec-native within striking distance of series points leader David Ostella. Ostella has racked up 138 points this season, with Green tallying 125. Thirteen points separate the top two drivers entering the final event of the season. By the same margin, Laberge came back to win the championship at Calabogie in 2012.
The 2013 season finale will take place at Calabogie Motorsports Park September 6-8 for the final two rounds of competition. For series news and updates, follow us on Twitter @GT3Canada or on Facebook. For race results, points standings, event information or to download a Spotter's Guide, visit http://imsachallenge.ca.
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