They might deny or ignore it, but there's no question the clock is ticking for every driver trying to chase Ultra 94 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin Platinum Cup leader Scott Hargrove.
That sound will be amplified at Rounds 7 and 8 of the series, Aug. 9-10 at Trois-Rivières, Quebec, since the stretch run of the season starts on the historic street circuit near the banks of the St. Lawrence River. Just four rounds remain in the 2014 season, including this weekend, and Hargrove leads second-place Chris Green, 116-100.
Two 45-minute races for the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned series are scheduled on the 11-turn, 1.53-mile (2.46 km) Circuit Trois-Rivières, the only track in Quebec in the championship. Round 7 is set for 3:05 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Aug. 9, with Round 8 at 9:20 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 10.
On-track action starts with practice sessions at 2:20 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, with qualifying at 9:20 a.m. Saturday.
Consistency has been a hallmark of Hargrove's march toward the Platinum Cup (2014 model cars) championship. Hargrove, from Surrey, British Columbia, has led the points after all six rounds of this season in the No. 69 OpenRoad Racing Porsche. He has finished first or second in all six rounds, including four victories.
Green, from Montreal, also is using consistency to keep Hargrove in sight. He has finished on the podium in five of the six rounds this season in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports 911 GT3 Cup car.
Spencer Pigot, from Orlando, Florida, kept his title hopes alive with his first win of the season July 20 in Toronto in the No. 21 Alegra Motorsports Porsche. He is third in the standings with 82 points.
|Etienne Borgeat is among the Quebec-based drivers and teams in the spotlight this weekend.|
It appeared Pigot might gain significant ground on Hargrove and Green during his victory in Toronto. Hargrove collided with Green on the first lap of the race, with Green's car spinning and suffering damage and Hargrove forced to the pits to serve a penalty for the contact.
But Hargrove and Green both produced arguably their most inspired drives of the season to bob and weave through the field and salvage podium finishes, with Hargrove placing second and Green third.
Marco Cirone, from Toronto, is fourth overall in the Platinum Cup points and leads the Platinum Masters (age 45 and older) class in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing Porsche. But his gap in Platinum Masters closed to 12 points over Carlos de Quesada after 2013 Gold Cup champion de Quesada won the Platinum Masters class round July 20 at Toronto in the No. 22 Alegra Motorsports entry for his first victory of the season.
2011 Platinum Cup champion Perry Bortolotti, from Kanata, Ontario, and Andre Belzile, from Drummondville, Quebec, also are staying close in the Platinum Masters chase. Bortolotti is third with 98 points in the No. 84 Mark Motors Racing Porsche, and Belzile is fourth with 92 in the No. 93 GT Racing entry.
The best championship race in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin is raging in the Gold Cup (2010-13 model cars) class. Just 14 points separate the five regular drivers in the series. It's truly anyone's title to win - or lose.
Jerimy Daniel, from Candiac, Quebec, leads the Gold Cup with 104 points in his rookie season in the family-owned No. 75 TRC Porsche. Daniel swept both Gold Cup rounds July 19-20 at Toronto to lift his victory total to four this season.
Tim Sanderson, from Pickering, Ontario, is right behind Daniel with 102 points. Sanderson has finished on the podium in five of six rounds this season in the No. 07 Alegra Motorsports/Northwest Atlantic Motorsports entry.
|Quebec resident Martin Harvey is in contention for the Gold Cup championship.|
2011 Gold Cup champion Shaun McKaigue, from Gilford, Ontario, is third with 94 points in the No. 34 Fiorano Racing 911 GT3 Cup car. Tied for fourth at 90 points are Ilker Starck, from Toronto, in the No. 48 SCB Racing/Downtown Porsche entry and Martin Harvey, from Berthierville, Quebec, in the No. 08 Wingho Racing Inc. Porsche.
An Alegra intra-team duel will continue for Silver Cup honors between Masters competitors Keith Bass and Chuck Harris of Tampa, Florida. Silver Cup competitors race in 2005 ½ to 2009 GT3 Cup cars. Harris has swept all six Silver Cup rounds to take a commanding lead in the championship.
There will be equal amounts of pride and pressure this weekend for the five drivers and three teams based in Quebec since this is the only round of the series in the French-Canadian province. Quebec drivers include Platinum Cup competitors Green and Etienne Borgeat of Montreal and Belzile of Drummondville, and Gold Cup racers Daniel of Candiac and Harvey of Berthierville.
GT Racing, based in Mirabel, will field the Platinum Cup cars for Borgeat and Belzile. The team worked tirelessly over the last three weeks to repair and prepare the No. 93 Porsche driven by Belzile, which suffered heavy damage in a crash July 20 in Round 6 at Toronto.
TRC Racing, based in Candiac, fields Daniel's car, while Harvey's Wingho Racing Inc. is based in Berthierville.
For more information on the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin, visit www.imsa.com and @IMSA on Twitter with the hashtag #GT3CAN. Live commentary for both races will be provided on Twitter at @IMSALive.