Belleville, ON, July 9, 2018 – Rounds five and six of the 2018 CTCC presented by Pirelli took place over the July 7/8 race weekend, with dual 40-minute contests headlining the Shannonville CTCC Summer Challenge event. Under perfect weather conditions, Canada’s premiere sports car competitors raced Saturday on the full, 4.030-kilometre long Shannonville track, while Sunday’s finale was staged on the high-speed 2.470-kilometre Pro Track.
Mechanical issues proved to be the downfall of several drivers over the course of the weekend. Both M&S Racing Hondas (Tom and Gary Kwok) suffering transmission issues, Damon Sharpe damaged the suspension components of the No. 84 Toyota/Blanchet Motorsports following a near rollover, and Bob Attrell struggled with a lack of power steering aboard his No. 88 Hyundai Genesis/Hyundai Racing Canada.
Quebec City’s Mario Guerin and his Ferrari 458 was the ‘test mule’ prior to the creation of the GT Cup class, and the inspiration for this class returned to the track at Shannonville Motorsport Park. Guerin proved to be the dominant entrant of the Summer Challenge weekend, guiding his No. 72 Ferrari/Automobiles Etcetera to a perfect racing record, sweeping to back-to-back overall, and GT Cup class, victories.
Also enjoying a weekend sweep was series rookie, Marc Raymond, who scored twin wins in Super Touring class.
Said the driver of the eye-catching, Martini-liveried No. 27 Porsche Cayman GT4/Policaro Motorsports, “This is a really fun course. I had a couple of ‘offs’ in practice, trying to find the limits, and I did manage to find them, but with no damage to the car. We put on some softer shocks for this particular event and the car was fabulous, even over the bumps.”
The battle for Touring class honours was fought out between the No. 12 Mazda RX-8/Can-Saf Motorsports of Paul Joakim and Shawn Little’s No. 57 Honda Civic/Velocity Motorsports Club, each driver ultimately going home with a class win from the doubleheader weekend.
As in the previous CTCC appearance at the Calabogie facility, most of the tight racing action was found in the GT Sport class.
In Saturday’s 40-minute weekend opener, Marco Cirone topped the GT Sport charts aboard the No. 18 Audi RS3 LMS TCR/Mark Motors, having pressured the race leading Guerin’s Ferrari throughout much of the contest while keeping an eye in his mirrors for the pursuing No. 58 BMW M4/Policaro Motorsports driven by GT Sport point leader Ethan Simioni.
“Actually, Mario and Marco were in a world of their own on Saturday, I was just trying to keep them in sight while managing my tires. We’ve been struggling throughout the season with tire wear. This car loves high speed and flowing corners; it doesn’t really like the ‘point and squirt’ tracks. I think the Sunday race on the Pro track is definitely going to play more to the car’s strengths,” stated Ethan.
Despite maintaining a strong race pace in the weekend finale, Simioni was again relegated to the second step of the GT Sport class podium at the conclusion of the 35-lap contest, finishing behind 4.036 seconds behind the class winning No. 66 Audi RS3 LMS TCR of Gary Kwok. Taking over the seat of Nelson Chan’s Audi following transmission problems in his own Civic TCR, Kwok wrestled the class lead away from Simioni on lap 19, stretching his advantage as the tires on the BMW once again began to fade.
“I had the legs on the straights, but Gary had me in the corners,” explained the driver of the Policaro Motorsports car. “His front wheel drive had the advantage, especially in the slow hairpins, which was what I had expected. I think I had a little something for him in the middle part of the race, but towards the end, my tires fell right off. I was getting a lot of oversteer, a lot of wheel spin, coming out of the slower corners.”
With six races now in the record books, CTCC presented by Pirelli will start the second half of the 2018 campaign with their highly anticipated, annual appearance on the streets of Trois-Rivières over the August 10-12 GP3R race weekend.
To Experience the Rush, follow us on our 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 Sports Car Racing Championship and a leader in Canadian motorsports. It provides 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 hundreds of drivers that have competed in the championship, CTCC has helped to further the career of some of the best international race car drivers.
Experience the rush of CTCC racing!
Photos: Phillip Sutherland