Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, July 08, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Races 5 and 6 in the 2019 season of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama were disputed at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park during the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship weekend.

“We are now halfway through the season and the field has shown increased confidence, competitiveness, and aptitude,” said Marc Ouayoun, President & CEO, Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd. “We were delighted to have been able to welcome 2018 LeMans-winner and World Champion Kevin Estre as a mentor in the series which has benefited drivers in tangible and measurable ways.”

July 6, 2019 – First race
The first race of the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Acura weekend featured the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama and Race 1 was over nearly as soon as it began.

Roman De Angelis scored his fourth victory of the season on Saturday morning in the No. 79 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car after a strong start at the drop of the green flag.

The 18-year-old from Belle River, Ontario, started on pole alongside Jeff Kingsley in the No. 16 Policaro Motorsport Porsche, but was unchallenged heading into Turn 1 as Kingsley struggled to get up to speed. De Angelis reveled in the clean air, going on to win by a staggering 14.598 seconds.
“It was pretty difficult to be honest,” said De Angelis, who will start from the No. 1 spot for Race 2 on Sunday morning. “We struggled a bit with rear grip. We had a shock issue yesterday in qualifying and to replace that overnight, you never really know how they are going to break in or how they’re going to act. So yeah, the left rear was a bit sketchy in all the right-handers, so I just kind of had to adapt accordingly.”

While initially dropping to third place at the start, Kingsley bounced back to regain the runner-up position ahead of Patrick Dussault in the No. 77 Lauzon Autosport Porsche. This is the first podium for Kingsley since winning the first race of the season, also at CTMP as part of the annual Victoria Day SpeedFest held in May. This is Dussault’s third podium of the year.

Meanwhile in the Platinum Masters class, it was an exciting race for winner Marco Cirone in the No. 88 Porsche for Mark Motors Racing. After starting seventh on the grid, Cirone moved up to fourth place and was eagerly looking to steal the final overall podium spot from Dussault in the final minutes. Coming onto the frontstretch, however, Cirone got loose as he peeked inside Dussault’s Porsche and spun.

Fortunately for Cirone, the battle for third was well ahead of the rest of the field, so he was able to recover and continue on for the Platinum Masters victory and overall fourth-place finish.

“I’m very happy with the Masters win, but to be quite honest in my heart I had that third place, man,” said Cirone. “I was going for it so hard and perhaps that was the problem, that at the end there I wanted it so bad that I tried too hard and I lost control unfortunately.

“But still a great drive by Patrick and Jeff Kingsley and super congratulations to my partner, Roman. I just want to thank the Mark Motors team, Liza and Michael (Mrak), for being here and supporting us. Thank you to IMSA and a special thank you to (Porsche factory driver) Kevin (Estre), the new Porsche Cars Canada coach. He really helped me out and is a wonderful person.”
Earning the Yokohama Tire Hard Charger Award for gaining the most positions in the 45-minute race was Michael Levitas in the No. 37 TPC Racing Porsche. Levitas – who won the most recent Platinum Masters race at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal last month – moved up from 13th to ninth and finished just off the Masters podium, with a fourth-place finish in class.

July 7, 2019 – Second race
The contest for the lead was a replica of Saturday’s race in Bowmanville, with Roman De Angelis taking his fifth GT3 Cup Challenge Canada victory of the season and his second weekend sweep after winning Rounds 3 and 4 in Montreal last month at the Canadian Grand Prix.

He now owns a 27-point lead in the championship standings.

“I’m just trying to get those points,” said De Angelis, who drives the No. 79 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. “I’m here for the championship, not to really win races, and to do both is pretty cool. Whether we’re second and leading the points, it doesn’t matter to me. I just want to win the championship.”

While De Angelis cruised to his 20-second victory, other cars in the pack were forced to fight for their positions on the leaderboard, resulting in a 45-minute race that consistently saw battles on track.

Ten minutes into the race, Jeff Kingsley in his No. 16 Policaro Motorsport Porsche was in hot pursuit of second-place Parker Thompson in the No. 3 SCB Racing Porsche but spun in Turn 10 as he looked inside for the position.

The incident dropped Kingsley to the bottom of the leaderboard. As he worked to get back to the front, though, he encountered three- and four-car battles deeper in the field that he ended up having to navigate himself. Ultimately, the Ajax, Ontario native was able to pick off six cars and salvage an eighth-place finish.
Meanwhile, Thompson held on for the runner-up finish, his best since Round 3 at Montreal and a solid recovery from a challenging race on Saturday. He kept Patrick Dussault’s No. 77 Lauzon Autosport Porsche behind him in third, although Dussault stayed within a second of Thompson for the entirety of the race.

Ethan Simioni also was part of the fight for a podium spot as he kept close to Thompson and Dussault, but ultimately finished fourth, one second behind Dussault.

Taking both Platinum Masters class victories this weekend was Marco Cirone in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing Porsche. Cirone, too, was in a heated contest with fellow Masters driver Alan Metni in the No. 99 Porsche for Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsport until Metni’s car fell victim to mechanical issues.

“Today was a lot more difficult because, boy, Alan was really, really fast,” said Cirone. “It’s unfortunate he had that mistake because otherwise, I don’t know if I would have been able to beat him. My teammate Michael (Di Meo, No. 96 OpenRoad Racing Porsche) got by me and he battled with him for a little bit. I think that worked to my advantage because they wore out their tires a little bit, I sat back and let things cool down and then I went for it. I was lucky enough to pass both of them.”

Finishing second in the Platinum Masters class and earning the Yokohama Hard Charger Award was Michael Levitas in the No. 37 TPC Racing Porsche. Levitas started last but jumped to ninth by the race’s conclusion.

It’s a quick turnaround for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Rounds 7 and 8, which take place next weekend during the annual Honda Indy Toronto event. The street circuit in downtown Toronto will feature the headlining IndyCar Series, with other support series such as NASCAR Pinty’s Series and Stadium Super Trucks. Tickets are available at www.hondaindy.com.

To keep up with news and updates throughout the season for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama, please visit IMSA.com and Porsche.com/Canada, and join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #GT3Canada.

About Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd.

Established in 2008, Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd. (PCL) is the exclusive importer and distributor of the Porsche 911, 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman; Panamera; as well as Cayenne and Macan. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, since 2017, PCL employs a team of more than 50 in sales, aftersales, finance, marketing, network development, and public relations. They, in turn, work to provide Porsche customers with a best-in-class experience in keeping with the brand's 70-year history of leadership in the advancement of vehicle performance, safety, and efficiency. In 2019, a Parts Distribution Centre will open its doors and service the countrywide network of 19 Porsche Centres. PCL is the dedicated subsidiary of Porsche AG, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. In 2018, Porsche sold an unprecedented 8,904 units in Canada, up 7.9% over the prior year.

At the core of this success is Porsche's proud racing heritage that boasts some 30,000-plus motorsport wins to date.
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