Toronto (ON) August 14,
The tripleheader CTCC date on the demanding, concrete-lined Trois-Rivières street course took its toll on equipment, teams and drivers, but it also provided some of the most intense and entertaining competition of the event.
The highlight of any CTCC campaign is the spectacular Friday night race. The 27 finely tuned sports cars powered to the green flag in the quickly deepening twilight with Alex Tagliani, aboard the No. 75 Fast Wheels Ford, snatching the overall lead from the GT Sport pole sitting Ferrari of Mario Guerin. Three laps of relentless pressure allowed Guerin to reclaim top spot, with Tagliani ultimately fading due to electrical issues in the Mustang. The No. 72 Ferrari would eventually win the race and the weekend, as Quebec City resident Guerin swept the GT Sport class, and overall, victory in each of the three timed races.
In Super Touring class, defending champion Eric Hochgeschurz took advantage of clutch issues aboard Jean-Francois Hevey’s No. 12 Porsche to secure the victory in the weekend opener. Hevey rebounded in the middle stanza with the class victory, crossing the stripe in third place overall, while Hochgeschurz guided his No. 11 8Legs Racing BMW to the win in the rubber match, padding his lead in the Super Touring class point standings with five races remaining on the calendar.
Defending Touring class champion Michel Sallenbach faced his toughest opposition of the year with no less than 11 Touring class competitors setting their sights on the tail lights of the No. 46 Team Octane Mini Coupe. Caught off-guard in traffic at the mid-point of Friday’s opening 40-minute race, Sallenbach relinquished the class lead to the hard charging No. 35 Honda of Paul Dargis. Regrouping, Sallenbach went into full chase mode, retaking top spot three laps later and holding on for the victory.
Sallenbach enjoyed a more comfortable contest on Saturday morning as he managed to employ Phillipe Gelinas’s Hyundai as a buffer between his Mini Coupe and the pursuing Mini Cooper of teammate Carlos Tesler-Mabe, cruising to the checkered flag for his second consecutive victory. Hometown driver Dargis finally broke Sallenbach’s winning streak as he wrestled the class lead away from the Mini Coupe on a last lap, caution period restart, the two Quebec drivers accepting the checkered flag in bumper-to-bumper formation.
- Alex Tagliani was doing double duty at the GP3R, sharing the CTCC driving responsibilities of the No. 75 Mustang with Lee Chaplin, while also competing in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series race.
- The unforgiving walls took the toll on the racing machinery as among the many contact-related retirees were Sylvain Laporte (No. 50), Ashley Sahakian (No. 7), Crystel Charest (No. 51), Tom Kwok (No. 55), Jonathan Young (No. 8) and Nelson Chan (No. 45).
- Michel Sallenbach continues to enjoy the Trois Rivieres racing complex as the Roxton Pond driver finished on the podium for the last four years, with a record of seven class victories, a trio of runner-up results and one, third place finish.
GT-SPORT: 1. #72 Mario Guérin, 2. #99 Chris Sahakian, 3. #55 Tom Kwok.
SUPER TOURING: 1. #11 Eric Hochgeschurz, 2. #16 Jeff Kingsley, 3. #12 Jean-Francois Hevey.
TOURING: 1. #46 Michel Sallenbach, 2. #35 Paul Dargis, 3. #8 Jonathan Young.
GT-SPORT: 1. #72 Mario Guérin, 2. #99 Chris Sahakian, 3. #89 Jocelyn Hebert.
SUPER TOURING: 1. #12 Jean-Francois Hevey, 2. #16 Jeff Kingsley, 3. #11 Eric Hochgeschurz.
TOURING: 1. #46 Michel Sallenbach, 2. #49 Carlos Tesler-Mabe, 3. #35 Paul Dargis.
GT-SPORT: 1. #72 Mario Guérin, 2. #99 Chris Sahakian, 3. #88 Bob Attrell.
SUPER TOURING: 1. #11 Eric Hochgeschurz, 2. #12 Jean-François Hevey, 3. #16 Jeff Kingsley.
TOURING: 1. #35 Paul Dargis, 2. #46 Michel Sallenbach, 3. #29 Jacques Bélanger.
The next appearance for the CTCC will be a second and last tripleheader event on September 1-3, with Canada’s best touring car competitors challenging the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park circuit.
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.
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Photos: Paolo Pedicelli (Vroomfoto.com)