Bowmanville, ON (May 22, 2017) – Fresh and familiar faces. New and recognized cars. New drivers in different cars. That was the scene at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park over the Victoria Day weekend as the CTCC presented by Pirelli made their season debut with a doubleheader event.
One of the new entries for 2017 is Quebec City’s Mario Guerin and his No. 72 Ferrari 458 GT Sport class car. Taking full advantage of his car’s potential, Guerin easily captured the GT Sport pole position for Saturday’s opening 40-minute round, and later in the day translated that accomplishment into his inaugural CTCC race victory.
A late race caution period regrouped the pack, so, in the final results a gap of less than six seconds covered the top four in GT Sport with Chris Sahakian, Tom Kwok and Damon Sharpe all chasing Guerin to the checkered flag.
The only driver apparently capable of matching the speed of the Ferrari was Bob Attrell in his No. 88 Hyundai Racing Canada. Unfortunately, a broken dipstick allowed oil to spray out of the motor and onto his windshield, necessitating an extended pit stop and eventually, a retirement from the contest.
Jerimy Daniel accepted a one-off ride aboard the No. 10 BMW 330i and rewarded the 8Legs Racing crew with a well deserved victory in the Super Touring class, while Michel Sallenbach took a step towards defending his Touring class crown by not only securing the pole position, but by earning the class win over perennial challenger Jon Young.
Heavy rain just prior to the start of Sunday’s weekend finale put the race in doubt, but as the weather improved slightly, the CTCC competitors eagerly took their places for the late afternoon contest.
With Guerin missing from the Sunday field, it left the door open for Bob Attrell to secure the GT Sport pole, a feat matched by Jerimy Daniel in Super Touring and Sallenbach in the Touring.
Under full wet track conditions, Attrell quickly launched into the race lead, but almost as quickly, ducked into the pits.
“There was still oil residue under the hood, and it was covering the windshield again. I had to stop, I just couldn’t see anything through the smear,” explained Attrell.
Assuming the overall and GT Sport race lead was the No. 66 M&S Racing Honda TCR of Gary Kwok, however his position only lasted for one lap as the No. 10 BMW soon appeared at the front of the field. Daniel opened up a safe advantage and the managed his position, taking the overall race win and topping the Super Touring scoring sheets.
“I focused on keeping a constant pace, hitting my rain line marks and keeping it safe,” said Daniel of his race strategy.
Despite falling off the pace of the race leader, Gary Kwok maintained a strong presence and came to the checkered flag at the front of the GT Sport pack. Attrell, having carved his way back through the entire CTCC field, snuck around newcomer Nathan Blok (No. 58) on the final lap to cross the stripe in third spot overall and in the runner-up position in GT Sport.
The just-turned 23-year-old Blok was making a return to the CTCC after a prolonged sabbatical and guided his SCB Racing BMW 325iR to a well-deserved Super Touring second place finish.
“I gained a lot of positions in the beginning, but as the race went on I was really struggling to find grip. I settled into a pretty fast rhythm that I thought was comfortable, but then I got a call over the radio that the pack was coming and that I should pick it up a bit. But I was already peddling as fast as I could,” laughed Blok.
Michel Sallenbach appeared to be in cruise mode as he accepted his second Touring class race victory of the weekend, but the ever-smiling driver of the No. 46 Mini Coupe explained that it was not as easy a drive as it looked.
“The air was much cooler today, so we taped up the radiator inlet to improve the handling. But I guess we put too much tape on. Whenever I was in a pack, the temperature would soar and the alarm would go off. I had to slow down and get into fresh air all race long so that we wouldn’t overheat and damage the motor.”
Scott Nicol, dealing with new car teething issues with the just-completed No. 41 Velocity Motorsports Honda Civic, was able to reward his Honda Canada crewmates with a runner-up Touring class trophy in Sunday’s feature race.
GTS: 1. #72 Mario Guerin, 2. #99 Chris Sahakian, 3. #55 Tom Kwok
ST: 1. #10 Jerimy Daniel, 2. #16 Jeff Kingsley, 3. #11 Eric Hochgeschurz
TC: 1. #46 Michel Sallenbach, 2. #8 Jonathan Young, 3. #48 Paul Gravel
GTS: 1. #66 Gary Kwok, 2. #88 Bob Attrell, 3. #84 Damon Sharpe
ST: 1. #10 Jerimy Daniel, 2. #58 Nathan Blok, 3. #11 Eric Hochgeschurz
TC: 1. #46 Michel Sallenbach, 2. #41 Scott Nicol, 3. #8 Jon Young
The next CTCC event will take place on June 17, 2017 at Calabogie Motorsports Park.
You can follow CTCC on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @CTCCracing. Use our hashtag #CTCCracing and visit our website at www.touringcar.ca.
CTCC presented by Pirelli is a truly Canadian Sports Car Racing Championship and a leader in Canadian motorsports. It provides Canadian race fans with close and exciting competition between some of Canada’s fastest race car drivers. CTCC takes pride in the fact that it is Canadian owned and operated, and that it is one of the longest-running professional sports car series in Canada. Notably, amongst the two hundred drivers that have competed in the championship, CTCC has helped to further the career of over thirty drivers.