CASTROL CANADIAN TOURING CAR, ROUND 7 RACE 1 One of Quebec's local favourites, Lombardi Honda driver Nick Wittmer, did his team proud as he took his first pole position this weekend during the 40th Gran Prix de Trois Rivieres. With a fastest lap...
CASTROL CANADIAN TOURING CAR, ROUND 7 RACE 1
One of Quebec's local favourites, Lombardi Honda driver Nick Wittmer, did his team proud as he took his first pole position this weekend during the 40th Gran Prix de Trois Rivieres. With a fastest lap time of 1:14:319 just .029 seconds ahead of GT Racing's Etienne Borgeat and his potent BMW. Wittmer was "extremely happy & satisfied" with his first pole in front of his native Quebec fans, he said in the post qualifying interview.
Wittmer & Borgeat led the field of 36 cars to the green flag in The Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship presented by Toyo Tires for the Saturday morning 30-minute qualifying heat race. Super Touring Class points leader, NorthWest Value Partners sponsored Greg Pootmans was starting slightly off the pace from his 6th place starting position and would have a tough battle to make his way to the front if he was going to keep a strong lead in the championship. Borgeat would take the lead on lap one and never relinquish it for the entire 21 lap race.
Starting from the second row, Pootmans & Borgeat's team mate Paul Dalla Lana and Gary Kwok piloting his Acura CSX would battle back and forth for most of the race trying everything they could to make their way to one of the coveted podium spots until Kwok had a left rear wheel failure put him back to 29th position tow laps down. Dalla Lana would go on to finish 3rd, but was disqualified during post race tech inspection due to a technical infraction.
Alex Healy, one of the series young and up and coming stars had a great run in his Acura RSX, starting 11th. Lap after lap he would take another position and kept the pressure on as he made his way to the front. After the disqualification of Dalla Lana, Healy would be awarded his second podium of the season. Lombardi Honda drivers Jean-Francois Dumoulin & Wittmer suffered brake fade issues that would hamper their efforts to hold Healy off in his charge to the front
In the extremely competitive Touring Class, all of the top five point's leaders had mechanical difficulties that would put them well off the pace and the podium. Thornhill native Anthony Rapone in his Honda Civic Si had hoped for a strong finish but was sidelined when a computer failure made him park his Honda Civic Si after 8 laps. Hot on his heels MINI Cooper driver, Alain Lauziere, currently second in class points standings, watched as his race went away after a brief contact with another car caused him to pit to change a damaged right front wheel. Third in the points race driver Nigel Heron took his Acura Type R from 36th starting position to 24th at the completion of the 21 laps.
Driving for Durabond Racing this weekend, Rapone's team mate Kenneth Lau took the team's potent Honda Civic SI lead the race from start to checker. First time podium finishers Bully Clutch sponsored Honda driver Patrick Seguin finished second and Quebec's own Sylvain Laporte rounded out the podium in third.
CASTROL CANADIAN TOURING CAR, ROUND 7 RACE 2
The Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship presented by Toyo Tires treated the local fans to some of the hottest racing battles during today's 30-minute feature race at the 40th Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. Montreal, Quebec native driver, GT Racing's Etienne Borgeat, led from the start of this action-packed event and never looked back. Borgeat led the field of 34 cars to the green flag alongside Acura RSX driver Mathieu Audette for the 7:55am start.
Starting from outside the second row beside Lombardi Honda driver Nick Wittmer, Ottawa, Ontario Acura RSX driver, Alex Healy, jumped to third, where an intense battle would ensue for the entire race. Wittmer put the pressure on early and stuck close to Healy. Healy moved to second on lap 11 when Audette's Acura was sidelined in turn 3. One lap later, in heavy traffic, Wittmer was able to take the position away.
His second-place position would be short lived as Healy would return the favour on lap 13 when he made a daring pass on the outside of turn one. Once the lead Super Touring cars began to lap the slower Touring Class cars, Healy was able to close the gap on Borgeat, but never could make up the ground he needed for the first place podium spot.
Saturday's Touring Class heat race winner Kenneth Lau piloted his Durabond Racing Honda Civic SI to a strong start and led most of the race. By lap 4 Lau had increased his lead by over 7 seconds over the second-place Honda of Sylvain Laporte. As the race wore on, Laporte would drop back to 5th. Trois Rivieres' own Rejean Vincent, starting from the 32nd position on the grid in his Acura Type R, put the pressure on early and advanced through the slower traffic quickly. By the fourth lap he had moved into 4th place behind Tom Kwok.
On lap 15 a race incident between two slower cars caught Lau on the exit of a turn. This allowed Vincent, who had made his way by Kwok 5 laps earlier, to make up the lost time and pass Lau for the lead. Octane Promotions Mini Cooper driver, Simon Dion-Viens, who was driving the car for the first time, had the drive of his life as he moved to 3rd position in class after starting 28th on the grid. His team was ecstatic with the results since this is the debut for the #46 car this season.
The NOS Energy drinks Fastest Lap Awards went to Super Touring Car #15 driven by Paul Dalla Lana with a time of 1:13:792 and Touring Car #89 Rejean Vincent with a time of 1:16:189.
The drivers now have three weeks to prepare for round 8 of the series when they'll be out on the tarmac race course at Mirabel, Quebec's famed Circuit ICAR.