Scott Hargrove bounces back in Toronto
Scott Hargrove put disappointment into his rearview mirror Sunday in Toronto.
Hargrove, from Tsawwassen, British Columbia, won Round 8 of the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama, pulling ever closer to the top of the sizzling Platinum Cup championship race.
He beat title rival Daniel Morad to the finish by 13.523 seconds in the No. 28 OpenRoad Racing Porsche for his fourth victory of the season. Hargrove led by more than 10 seconds with 12 minutes remaining in Round 7 on Saturday when his car lost drive, handing Morad the victory.
The victory Sunday pulled Hargrove to within three points of Morad for the lead in the Platinum Cup championship, with four rounds remaining this season.
"The car was phenomenal," Hargrove said. "The OpenRoad car was unreal this whole weekend. Same boat yesterday, but we made up for it today. I'm happy and ready to continue this exact same thing the rest of the year."
Robichon, from Ottawa, stayed in the title chase by finishing third in the No. 78 Mark Motors Racing Porsche.
Hargrove took the green flag from the pole and kept that lead through the early laps. Morad stayed in touch with Hargrove during the first three laps, but he overshot Turn 3 while trying to move side-by-side with Hargrove in a bid for the lead with 39 minutes remaining in the 45-minute race.
Morad made an impressive quick spin of his car in the runoff area to return to the track in fifth place and quickly passed his teammate Sanderson for fourth, with his championship lead hanging in the balance. Morad passed Cirone for third with 37 minutes remaining and set his sights on Robichon, running second behind Hargrove.
Robichon led Morad by 4.3 seconds with 36 minutes left. Morad brushed the wall with 29 minutes left in pursuit of Robichon, and the gap expanded to 4.7 seconds with 28 minutes left.
But Morad kept charging, pulling to within three seconds of Robichon with 15 minutes left. The gap trimmed to two seconds with five minutes left.
Morad was 1.3 seconds behind Robichon at the white flag to start the final lap. But Robichon slowed in lapped traffic, and Morad pounced. He closed on the rear bumper of Robichon and took second place with a daring, unexpected move in Turn 8 on the 11-turn, 1.786-mile (2.874 km) circuit, and his momentum carried him to a gap of .432 of a second over Robichon at the checkered flag.
"He broke very early into Turn 3, but I wanted to pick a spot where he didn't expect it," Morad said. "I did the same move to Scott (Hargrove) last year to win in the rain. I like that spot. I'm good on the brakes, and in the NASCAR race (Saturday), I was very strong there. So I was confident going into Turn 8, and it was from very far back. I wanted to make sure I left enough space so he didn't defend.
"I sandbagged a little bit going around the carousel. I knew I was strong, keeping it flat through the kink in (Turn) 7, and I just lunged down the inside, perfectly under control. I was very surprised the car just stuck.
"All the credit to the team for giving me such an amazing car. Yesterday I didn't have the car to win, but we got the win. But today we made an adjustment that we needed, and the car was incredible. That pass was probably the best pass of my life, and that was one of the drives of my life to come back and get those two vital points for the championship to keep the lead."
Morad leads Hargrove, 137-134, in the Platinum Cup standings. Robichon is third with 12
From Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama
Scott Hargrove wins again at Wakins Glen
Driver column: Versteeg improving with every win