O'Connell, Heitkotter double up in Canada
Trefethen takes GT Cup win at CTMP.
After claiming victory in Saturday's GT Round 8, Johnny O'Connell, of Flowery Branch, Ga., led the field off of the standing start to hold off the Dyson Racing duo of Butch Leitzinger, of Rebersburg, Pa and Chris Dyson, of Pleasant Valley, Pa. to take GT Round 9 of the Pirelli World Challenge Championships. Like O'Connell, Bryan Heitkotter, of Fresno, Calif. doubled up with the GTA win to sweep the weekend, with series rookie Lorenzo Trefethen from Napa, Calif. claiming his debut victory in the GT Cup presented by MOMO class. The Remo Ferri Group Canadian Grand Prix presented by Replay XD event at the 2.459 mile Canadian Tire Motorsport Park was held under sunny 77 degree weather conditions.
The standing start is always exciting in the Pirelli World Challenge, and today did not disappoint. After O'Connell was able to cleanly launch into the lead, the battle behind him heated up for second position. Outside pole starter Olivier Beretta from Monte Carlo, Monaco driving his No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari of Ontario/Toronto/Alberta, Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia and inside row two driver No. 9 of Kevin Estre, Locmau, Austria driving his Pfaff Automotive McLaren Toronto K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 battled hard to determine second place. Estre prevailed after a good battle on the first lap. Behind Estre was Beretta, JD Davison, of St. Petersburg, Fla. in the No. 33 AIM Autosport Always Evolving/ReplayXD/Nissan Nismo Nissan GT-R GT3 and Leitzinger in the No. 20 Dyson Racing Breitling/Mobil 1/ Bentley Continental GT3.
In the GTA class, Heitkotter was able to make an outstanding start that pushed him up to sixth overall and first in GTA. He was followed by Frank Montecalvo, from Highlands, N.J. in the No. 66 DragonSpeed/Bayshore Racing Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS GT3, and then the No. 07 of Martin Fuentes, Mexico City Mexico, in the Scuderia Corsa Hublot/Samsung Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, with Erik Lux from Buffalo, N.Y. in the No. 08 DragonSpeed Rembrandt Charms/Monticello MC Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS GT3 holding down fourth, and Christina Nielsen from Aarhus, Denmark in the No. 7 TRG-AMR Royal Purple/Orion/La Salle Solutions/PassTime USA Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in fifth.
Clean start for GT Cup
The GT Cup class likewise was able to start the race cleanly. After the first lap the order with the top five was the same as the order from the finish of the race on Saturday. Colin Thompson in the No. 11 Kelly Moss/Porsche of Bucks County Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car led, with Sloan Urry from Salt Lake City, Utah aboard the No. 02 Engel & Voelkers Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in second, and Trefethen in the No 13 ANSA Trefethen Family Vineyards Porsche 911 GT Cup car third. Fourth was the No. 18 of Phil Fogg Jr. from Portland, Ore. in the Truspeed Zoro Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, with Mitch Landry, Lake Charles, La. in the No. 97 JCR Deep South/VersaCrane Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car fifth.
After a short caution to clean up a stranded car on lap 5 the race resumed. The restart in GT held on lap 7 featured fireworks. Beretta once again tried to go inside under Estre through turn 1 and was able to get by. Later in the lap at the end of the Mario Andretti Straightaway, Beretta and Davidson went three wide with Estre in the middle, all three cars making contact. Beretta and Estre went off track as a result of the contact but were able to continue. After the contact Davidson briefly moved into second before damage coming together caused him to pull off in turn 9.
The contact meant that Leitzinger, in the No. 20 Bentley/Breitling/Mobil1 Team Bentley Dyson Racing Bentley Continental GT3 moved into second with Dyson in the No. 16 Dyson Racing Breitling/Mobil 1/ Bentley Continental GT3 up to third. Mike Skeen, from Charlotte, N.C.in the No. 2 DeVilbiss/Hawk Performance, CRP Racing Audi R8 LMS Ultra moved into fourth and Beretta was now fifth.
In GTA on the lap 7 restart, Henrique Cisneros, of Miami, Fla., in the No. 30 MOMO Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia moved in front of Nielsen for fifth in class. In the GT Cup class Henrique's brother Eduardo Cisneros of Miami, Fla., in the No. 29 MOMO Ferrari Porsche 911 GT Cup likewise made a pass into fifth over Landry.
At this point, the race was able to get into a very good green flag extended period. The field was able to get into a rhythm and work on maximizing the set up that they had worked on all weekend with their teams. Cisneros in GTA was able to work the Ferrari and move up the order in class. First he made his way past Lux in turn 10 with a clean pass.
By lap 18 Leitzinger and his Bentley were in a good rhythm and were able to pressure O'Connell and his Cadillac. This battle would continue as both drivers worked all of their skill and experience on each lap.
In GT Cup the leader Thompson began to feel pressure from second place Urry. On lap 22 as the duo approached turn nine, Urry made a move inside of Thompson. The two went into turn nine side-by-side and as they exited, Urry lost the rear end grip and began to spin. He and Thompson both spun as a result. Thompson quickly recovered to stay in front. However Urry took more time to recover and feel back to fourth. This enabled Trefethen and Fogg Jr. to move into second and third with their eyes on the leader. Fogg would make his way around Trefethen in turn 5C on lap 22. The battle for the lead continued. By lap 26, both Fogg and Trefethen made their way past Thompson.
Leitzinger hangs tough
Back up front in GT, the leaders continued to work on the battle for the lead. For a few laps O'Connell would find his way to a slight lead before Leitzinger would figure out a way to reel in the No. 3. In GTA, Cisneros managed to continue his pursuit up the order and made a pass on the third place Fuentes. The duo of Cisneros and Fuentes along with Lux would continue to battle it out to the finish.
As the final lap commenced, in the GTA class the leading duo of Heitkotter and Montecalvo were able to make the finish in great style with Bryan the winner and fifth overall with Montecalvo in second and seventh overall. Behind them Cisneros was third while Lux made a very impressive move out of turn 10 over Fuentes for forth with Fuentes finishing fifth.
The GT Cup class last lap turned into high drama as Fogg Jr. spun in turn 8 out of the lead. This propelled Trefethen into the lead and the victory with Thompson following him home second. Fogg placed third even after the spin with Urry fourth and Landry fifth.
In GT, O'Connell made his final attempts to "outfox" the equally cagey Leitzinger. In the end, O'Connell was able to take the victory by .539 seconds. It was a great sweep of the weekend for O'Connell and for the entire Cadillac team a great job of overcoming challenges coming out of the Barber weekend to claim the sweep. Behind O'Connell and Leitzinger it was Dyson, Skeen and Heitkotter.
Of note, the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start for gaining five positions on the start went to No. 8 Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla. Cadillac Racing, Cadillac ATS-VR GT3 who moved up five positions. The Cadillac ATS Move of the Race was awarded to Estre for his pass over Beretta on lap one. The MOMO Turning Point of the GT Cup race was the late spin by Fogg. The Invisible Glass Clean Pass Award went to Henrik Hedman, of Ft Lauderdale, Fla. in the No. 10 DragonSpeed Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT3 for his pass on the No. 80 of Dan Knox of Pilot Point, Texas in the Lone Star Racing ACS MFG Dodge Viper GT3-R on Lap 34. The VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger Award went to Trefethen moving up seven positions overall in the race.
'Really tough race'
O'Connell said, "I'm physically exhausted. It was a really tough race. This track is physical, you hold the g loads so long and the cockpit of that car is pretty darn hot. I got a really good start then on the restart I could see Kevin Estre was getting pretty cagey and I out caged him and as he and Beretta got involved I knew we had two really good drivers with pretty big egos battling and it was exactly what I wanted. I didn't have a radio so when I saw them gone and there were only Bentleys I figured it was Butch and I knew he would be coming. I said to myself just hit your marks. When you can race that hard with somebody of his caliber we were both really pleased."
Heitkotter said, "What can I say, Canada has been good to me. It's my first time here and I thought I'd like this place, and I was right. It's a phenominal track with all of the high speed corners. Top five overall, we're creeping up towards the front. We have some good momentum with three wins in a row in GTA and I'm really happy about that. I have to say thanks to Always Evolving and Autosport. it's absolutely amazing to be running with this field and running up front."
Trefethen said, "I would like to dedicate my first professional racing career win to Dan Fredinburg. He had a great spirit and I know he would have loved to see this today. If you would like to donate to the relief efforts after the earthquake in Nepal go to www.crowdrise.com/celebratingdan. It's a real thrill as it's my first time north of the border at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The first time I went over the hill in four without lifting it was a real WOW moment. I have to thank the guys for giving me a real predicable car even at the end when the tires had gone off I was able to stay right there and take advantage of what happened in front of me. I have to thank my sponsors the Trefethen Family Vineyards, ANSA Motorsports, and the 750 Group."
Results are provisional until posted final. Beretta still leads in GT Drivers' Championship points, with Henrique Cisneros in the lead in GTA, and Thompson leading the GT Cup presented by MOMO class. Watch Rounds 8 and 9 on CBS Sports Network on Sunday, May 24, 5 p.m. EST.
BOWMANVILLE, ON - Results from Sunday's 36-lap 88.524 mile Pirelli World Challenge Championship GT/GTA/GT Cup Round 9 race, part of the Remo Ferri Group Canadian Grand Prix presented by Replay XD at CTMP, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out (if any).
1. GT, (1), Johnny O'Connell, Flowery Branch, Ga., Cadillac ATS-VR GT3, 36.
2. GT, (5), Butch Leitzinger, Rebersburg, Pa., Bentley Continental GT3, 36, -.539.
3. GT, (4), Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, N.Y., Bentley Continental GT3, 36, -4.294.
4. GT, (8), Mike Skeen, Charlotte, N.C., Audi R8 LMS Ultra, 36, -13.158.
5. GT, (9), Bryan Heitkotter(A), Fresno, Calif., Nissan GT-R GT3, 36, -14.140.
6. GT, (2), Kevin Estre, Lochau Austria, , McLaren 650S GT3, 36, -15.062.
7. GT, (11), Frank Montecalvo(A), Highlands, N.J., Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT3, 36, -26.812.
8. GT, (3), Olivier Beretta, Monte Carlo, , Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, 36, -28.549.
9. GT, (13), Ryan Dalziel, Windermere, Fla., Porsche 911 GT3R, 36, -32.823.
10. GT, (16), Ryan Eversley, Atlanta, Ga., Acura TLX-GT, 36, -35.460.
11. GT, (12), Peter Cunningham, Milwaukee, Wis., Acura TLX-GT, 36, -36.721.
12. GT, (10), Michael Lewis(R), Laguna Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3R, 36, -37.604.
13. GT, (15), Duncan Ende, Los Angeles, Calif., Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, 36, -48.031.
14. GT, (17), Henrique Cisneros(A), Miami, Fla., Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, 36, -48.550.
15. GT, (19), Eric Lux(A), Buffalo, N.Y., Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT3, 36, -49.998.
16. GT, (14), Martin Fuentes(A), Mexico City, MX, Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, 36, -50.103.
17. GT, (18), Christina Nielsen(R)(A), Aarhus Denmark, , Aston Martin Vantage GT3, 36, -50.923.
18. GT, (22), Dan Knox(A), Pilot Point, Texas, Dodge Viper GT3-R, 36, -1:11.076.
19. GT, (20), Henrik Hedman(A), Ft Lauderdale, Fla., MercedesBenzAMG SLS GT3, 36, -1:15.535.
20. GT, (6), JD Davison, St Petersburg, Fla., Nissan GT-R GT3, 36, -1:15.948.
21. GT, (24), Bret Curtis(A), Austin, Texas, BMW E89 Z4 GT3, 35, -1 lap.
22. GT, (28), Jeff Courtney(A), Milwaukee, Wis., Audi R8 LMS Ultra, 35, -1 lap.
23. GT, (21), Drew Regitz(A), Denver, Colo., Audi R8 LMS Ultra, 35, -1 lap.
24. GT, (26), Timothy Pappas(A), Boston, Mass., Dodge Viper GT3R, 33, -3 lap.
25. GT, (7), Robert Thorne, Littleton, Colo., McLaren 650S GT3, 25, Mech.
26. GT, (25), Andy Pilgrim, Boca Raton, Fla., Cadillac ATS-VR GT3, 18, Mech.
27. GT, (23), Bill Ziegler(A), Ponte Vedra, Fla., BMW E89 Z4 GT3, 0, Mech.
28. GTC, (33), Lorenzo Trefethen(R), Napa, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 35.
29. GTC, (30), Colin Thompson, Doylestown, Pa., Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 35, -4.685.
30. GTC, (32), Phil Fogg_Jr, Portland, Ore., Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 34, -1 lap.
31. GTC, (31), Sloan Urry, Salt Lake City, Utah, Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 34, -38.976.
32. GTC, (34), Mitch Landry, Lake Charles, La., Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 34, -41.264.
33. GTC, (37), Victor Gomez(R), San Juan, Puerto Rico, Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 34, -1 lap.
34. GTC, (35), Preston Calvert(R), Potomac, Md., Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 33, -2 lap.
35. GTC, (36), Eduardo Cisneros(R), Miami, Fla., Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 30, Mech.
Fergus, Holton and Schwartz take class wins in Bowmanville
Jack Baldwin gives Porsche a win in Canada