Tight Championship Battles on Track as the 2019 CTCC Presented by Pirelli Wraps up at CTMP

Tight Championship Battles on Track as the 2019 CTCC Presented by Pirelli Wraps up at CTMP

26.08.2019: Heading into our final rounds at CTMP, the championship battle has been elevated to another level as multiple drivers and teams are in contention for their class championship for the year.

Heading into our final rounds at CTMP, the championship battle has been elevated to another level as multiple drivers and teams are in contention for their class championship for the year.

Nathan Blok makes his return to the series in 2019, taking over driver duty for Parker Thompson in the No. 33 New Roads/Team Speedstar Audi R8 LMS GT4.  Much like Parker, Nathan was able to quickly translate his open-wheel racing experience into success with the mid-engine Audi. 

After a slow start to the race, he pulled away from the rest of the field finishing with a decisive 7.894 second lead over series newcomer George Staikos in second place.  Despite some inconsistencies, George showed great pace in the new No. 6 GRS Autosport Mercedes-AMG GT4.

Michael Delledonne (No. 81 RMP Competizione BMW M235iR) climbed to third place on the podium after teammate Rocco Marciello in the No. 53 car had a tire blow out entering Turn 2 near the end of the race.

Expectedly, the TCR class battle was intense all weekend.  Starting in Friday’s qualifying, Jean-François Hevey (No. 21 TRC/M1GT Audi RS3 LMS TCR) put down a pole setting lap of 1:24.338, besting the previous CTCC TCR lap record set by teammate Matthew Taskinen during the Victoria Day Speedfest earlier this year.

TCR points leader Gary Kwok (No. 66 M&S Racing Honda Civic TCR) qualified in second place, trailing by a mere 0.014 second!  Gary managed to pass Jean- François early on and briefly got into a dogfight for the overall lead with the Audi R8 LMS GT4 in GT Sport.  The race eventually evolved into a battle between teammates with Tom Kwok (No. 55 M&S Racing Honda Civic TCR) passing the No. 21 Audi.  However, Gary was able to hold onto the lead in the No. 66 car and finished first ahead of brother and teammate Tom.

A race between the two TRC/M1GT Audi RS3 LMS TCR’s of Jean-François Hevey (No. 21) and Matthew Taskinen (No. 23) unfolded behind the Honda’s, with Hevey holding on to finish in third and Taskinen right behind him in fourth.

After an intense day of racing on Friday, CTCC competitors had a chance to regroup Saturday morning before the round 10 finale at 3:30pm.

In GT Sport, Nathan Blok (No. 33 New Roads/Team Speedstar Audi R8 LMS GT4) got off to a fast start and created a seemingly comfortable lead over George Staikos (No. 6 GRS Autosport Mercedes-AMG GT4) in P2.  However, George was relentless and kept pushing to close the gap from the Audi in front. 

About halfway through the race, he got a great launch out of Moss Corner (Turn 5) and began reeling Nathan in on the Andretti Straight.  The bi-turbo V8 Mercedes-AMG GT4 pulled ahead of the Audi right before turn 8 and took the lead.  George would go on to take his maiden CTCC win by over 8.5 seconds in front of Nathan’s No. 33 Audi R8 LMS GT4, giving fans a glimpse of a potential rivalry between the two German luxury automakers.

Rocco Marciello (No. 53 RMP Competizione BMW M235iR) was busy navigating around the TCR field behind teammate Michael Delledonne in the No. 81 BMW.  In a strange twist of fate, Michael was the one that suffered a tire blowout this race which promoted Rocco to the last spot on the GT Sport podium.

For the 2019 CTCC GT Sport Championship, Parker Thompson (No. 1 New Roads/Team Speedstar Audi R8 LMS GT4) had already secured the title before this weekend with dominant performances throughout the entire season.  The pair of RMP Competizione BMW’s finished behind him with Rocco Marciello (No. 53) in second place and Michael Delledonne (No. 81) in third.  Fareed Ali (No. 41 TWOth Autosport Porsche 997.2 C2S PDK) finished just 28 points behind in fourth place.

In TCR, the championship battle continued on all the way through the last race.  M&S Racing teammates Tom (No. 55) and Gary Kwok (No. 66) started on the front row, with Gary leading the race in first overall for a few corners before the GT Sport cars passed him on the straightaway.  Tom managed to catch up and passed Gary on the back straight for the lead and went on to win the race.

After falling into a slump at GP3R, Matthew Taskinen (No. 23 TRC/M1GT Audi RS3 LMS TCR) bounced back for the final round to finish second after passing Gary’s Honda around the halfway mark.

The next group of TCR cars finished over 11.5 seconds later.  Travis Hill (No. 26 TWOth Audi RS3 LMS TCR) led the group in third place, recovering from a midfield finish the day before which pushed him down one spot in class standings.  Finishing fourth is Bob Attrell (No. 88 Hyundai Racing Canada Hyundai i30N TCR) who made a tremendous charge to overtake Jean- François Hevey (No. 21 TRC/M1GT Audi RS3 LMS TCR) who ended up in fifth.

Falling back a few spots after running in front of the entire field, Gary implemented a conservative strategy to avoid contact as he only needed to finish the race to win the championship.  He dropped back to finish in sixth place and secured his first CTCC championship in 13 years of racing!

Despite missing the podium in round 10, Jean- François Hevey’s performance was enough to secure second place in TCR class ahead of Travis Hill in third.  The TCR top three finished within 30 points of each other, showing that the class should be highly competitive for years to come!  Matthew Taskinen could not catch the top three despite his strong performance and finished fourth for the year.

Complete race results and standings can be found by visiting the CTCC website, www.touringcar.ca. Fans can follow the championship via the following social media platforms: Facebook: touringcar.ca, Twitter: @ctccracing, Instagram: @ctccracing

Dominique Bondar, photos Phillip Sutherland

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/canadian-touring-car-championship-pirelli-ctcc-ctmp---196223.html

26.08.2019 / MaP

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