CTCC - Intense racing at CTCC Summer Challenge in Shannonville

The 10th anniversary season continued for the CTCC presented by Continental Tire with the Summer Challenge, a mid-July tripleheader weekend run at Shannonville Motorsport Park.

CTCC - Intense racing at CTCC Summer Challenge in Shannonville
Eric Hochgeschurz, BMW 330i
Scott Nicol, Honda Civic Si
Chris Sahakian, Ford Mustang
Bob Attrell
Michel Sallenbach, MINI Cooper S JCW

Staged on Shannonville, Ontario’s 2.47-kilometre Pro Track, each of the three contests was shortened to 30 minutes in duration, allowing for a sprint style race format.

As expected, there was bumper-to-bumper action throughout the field, although some of the most intense action was found at the very front of the pack in Super Touring class competition.

Over the 75 race laps completed during 90 minutes of on-track activity, Karl Wittmer, Eric Hochgeschurz, Scott Nicol and Jerimy Daniel all took turns fronting, what was inevitably, a multi-car Super Touring class train. Unfortunately, several of the frontrunners developed mechanical issues over the course of the weekend, with Wittmer succumbing to transmission problems, electrical gremlins hampering Nicol’s chances and a broken throttle cable sidelining Hochgeschurz’s BMW in Round Two.

A review of the overall results in Super Touring class show that Hochgeschurz guided his No. 11 8-Legs Racing BMW 330 to the victory over Nicol’s No. 41 Velocity Motorsports Honda in Race One, while Nicol rebounded in the middle stanza, going flag-to-flag to take the win from Daniel (No. 10 TRC Porsche) and Wittmer’s No. 91 Lombardi Civic. With a new throttle cable installed in his No. 11 BMW, Hochgeschurz returned to form in the Sunday finale, taking the checkered flag by 18.739 seconds over Daniel and Michael DelleDonne (No. 81 RMC BMW).

While Damon Sharpe would encounter obstacles in each of the 30-minute races, the former series champion somehow found his way on to the Grand Touring podium, albeit in all three instances, in third place. However, from behind the wheel of his No. 84 Blanchet Racing Hyundai, Sharpe had the best seat in the house to watch his teammate Bob Attrell and series newcomer Chris Sahakian wage a back-and-forth battle in pursuit of race wins.

In the Saturday opener, Attrell’s rear bumper worked loose following contact, the bodywork creating sufficient drag to slow his overall top speed. Waiting for his opportunity to pounce, Sahakian bided his time, and then on the last lap used the draft to slide to the inside of Attrell at the end of the back straight, completing the diving pass to assume the race lead and carrying the momentum to a 2.111-second advantage over Attrell at the stripe.

Race 2

In Round Eight (the 2nd race), Attrell went flag-to-flag to secure his first win of the weekend, fending off repeated challenges from the No. 66 Mitsubishi piloted by Gary Kwok. When Kwok’s car developed rear end problems, Attrell cruised to the checkers, crossing the line with a substantial 18-second lead over Sahakian.

The Sunday finale proved to be anything but a cruise for Attrell. Snatching the point from Sahakian on lap five, Attrell would run out the 25 lap contest at the front of the Grand Touring class, although the No. 99 Mustang was never more than a car length in arrears. In a dramatic last lap charge, Sahakian closed up to the back bumper of the No. 88 Genesis, but was ultimately forced to accept the runner-up position, falling a mere 0.489 seconds shy of the race win.

“That kid (Sahakian) is getting better and better in that car, he was all over me,” commented Attrell. “He was a distraction for me, I had to battle the whole time.”

A scan of the scoring charts revealed that 2014 Touring class champion Michel Sallenbach enjoyed a perfect race weekend, securing the pole position in Saturday’s qualifying session and topping the podium in each of the three races. However, the ever-smiling driver of the No. 46 MINI Coupe admitted that his victories had not come as easily as they might have appeared.

“The track was very slippery, I had to work hard to keep Jonathan (Young) behind me,” noted Sallenbach following the Sunday morning event. “He started to slow, I think his tires went off, but I needed to keep pushing hard.”

Asked why he maintained such a fast pace throughout the race weekend, Sallenbach explained, “One year, I lost the championship by a single point. If I can pick up five points here and five points there, that might make the difference in the final standings.”

In each race, Sallenbach was chased to the stripe by the No. 8 M&S Racing Honda of Jon Young and his Team Octane teammate Paul Gravel (No. 48 MINI Cooper).
The next appearance for the CTCC Presented by Continental Tire will be at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres on the August 12-14 race weekend.

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