The Canadian Touring Car Championship presented by Pirelli (CTCC) ventured out to the picturesque Circuit de Trois-Rivieres for the series’ first doubleheader of 2021.
Carved out of the streets of the idyllic town, 10 of Canada’s fiercest touring car competitors took to the track in three classes, GTS1, GTS2 and TCR. With the GP3R being a staple event on the calendar since 2008, a win on the streets Trois-Rivieres is one of the most special things a driver can accomplish.
After winning the pole earlier in the day GTS2 competitor Benoit Bergeron was determined to score his first career touring car victory at GP3R. Bergeron’s No.27 Ferrari 488 Challenge took command from the start, Bergeron would lead Martin Harvey (No.9 Porsche GT3 Cup) by a significant margin after the first lap. With Harvey being hounded by Mario Guerin, the No.72 Ferrari 458 would suffer a mechanical issue a handful of laps in ending Guerin’s race early.
The only yellow of the day would fly after TCR competitor Jocelyn Hebert (No.89 Honda Civic Type R TCR FK7) made contact with the wall in the final corner, damaging the right front wheel well of the car putting an abrupt end to his race.
Over on the TCR side, it was a tense battle between brothers Gary and Tom Kwok (Nos.66 & 55 Honda Civic Type R TCR FK7) for the victory. Gary, the 2019 TCR champion, gave his brother everything he had as third place LP Montour (No.45 VW Golf GTI TCR) was further back after suffering slight damage on the first lap.
In the end, nobody would have anything for Benoit Bergeron as he would take the win in GTS2 and the overall victory.
“It feels great,” Bergeron said. “It’s only my second race here at Trois-Rivieres, we came here with a great car and a great team, I’m really happy to get the win.”
Martin Harvey and Mario Guerin would round out the GTS2 finishers. Meanwhile in GTS1, Michel Sallenbach (No.46 Mini Coupe JCW) would best Samuel Laquerre (No.21 Honda Civic Si) to claim his first win of the weekend.
“It was a nice win,” Sallenbach said. “I know Samuel [Laquerre] very well as we raced in the series many years ago together, so it was very nice to race with him again.”
Finally in TCR, Tom Kwok would best his brother Gary to pickup his first CTCC wins since 2019. Despite a late race retirement, LP Montour completed the podium for his first podium in GP3R.
“It was a very hot today,” Kwok said. “I’m very happy to get the win.”
Race two would see a similar story, but with ten times the added drama.
Once again Bergeron would start on the pole, and would lead quite convincingly into turn one. Despite the car appearing to be fixed, Guerin wasn’t able complete the first lap as he pulled onto pit road on the pace lap and retired the car.
Tom Kwok once again flexed his muscles leading the way in TCR, his brother Gary in hot pursuit the two Kwok brothers put on another spirited battle for the ages. Around the 20 minute mark of the race, Gary would finally find his way around Tom to take the lead.
In the final closing laps, Tom would suffer a mechanical issue that would end his race early. The mechanical failure allowed Montour and Hebert to move up to second and third. In the closing laps, nobody could touch Bergeron who nearly had a full lap advantage on the field.
With roughly two laps to go, disaster struck. Bergeron would run out of fuel, allowing Harvey to take the lead and the win in GTS2.
“I’m very very happy,” said Harvey on the podium. “We started number two today and Benoit had more power than us, however with two laps to go he started losing power and I was able to win the race!.”
Over in the GTS1 class, Michel Sallenbach was able to sweep the weekend with Samuel Laquerre completing the podium.
Gary Kwok would hold off both Montour and Hebert in order to take his first win of the weekend, ending GP3R with a second and a first place finish.
“It’s great to win at GP3R,” said Kwok. “I can’t wait to come back next year and try to win it again.”
With Hebert’s podium, he became the record holder for podiums at GP3R with 25. One of the CTCC’s iconic drivers, Hebert has been racing at the Grand Prix in one form or another for over three decades.
For complete results can be found on touringcar.ca, and fans can follow our social media @CTCCRacing.
CTCC presented by Pirelli is a Sports Car Racing Championship and a leader in Canadian motorsport. It provides race fans with close and exciting competition between some of Canada’s finest and fastest race car drivers. CTCC takes pride in the fact that it’s Canadian owned and operated, and that it’s one of the longest-running professional sports car series in Canada. It showcases race cars based on their original street version since 2007.
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