The Revamped 2011 Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship Kicked Off its Season at Mosport’s Victoria Day SpeedFest
In addition to the things that always change year over year, such as team and driver combinations, the series made a big splash at the Canadian Motorsport Expo in January when it debuted its new branding and introduced Continental Tire as its new spec tire supplier. The changes continue with the schedule where the Series will keep its prime dates such as the Honda Indy Toronto and the Grand Prix of Mosport, but it announced a big addition in early May.
For the first time the series will race on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal as part of the NASCAR Nationwide Series weekend, August 19-20.
“We are very happy to have concluded this partnership with Stock-Car Montréal. The Event Promoter François Dumontier, his team and the thousands of expected spectators will also be greatly impressed by our drivers. We are looking forward to offering our fans outstanding performances that will meet the Circuit’s historical expectations,” John Bondar, President of CTCC said after the deal was announced in early May. With all of these new developments serving as backdrop, the series kicked off its new season at Mosport’s Victoria Day SpeedFest in late May.
Drivers were anxious to get on the track after a long winter and they were ready for some action, but some were sadly disappointed as mechanical problems prevented them from competing on the first weekend. Fastco Motorsports drivers Glenn and Lee Chaplin experienced transmission problems and had to return home before the weekend even started. The Pfaff Automotive Partners’ Audi A5 suffered from a terminal engine problem but the team promised to regroup for the next event. Ryan Blanchet was convinced that he was not going to be able to race due to a problem with the chassis but his team worked hard and managed to get him back on track for Round One.
Qualifying occurred on the Saturday on a green track under clear conditions. Etienne Borgeat showed the way in Super Class in his Pontiac Solstice. His extensive preseason testing helped to establish him as a front contender. Arek Wojciechowski was second fastest in his BMW 328i and Dean Fantin was third in his BMW 330i. All three were separated by less than one half second. Gary Kwok was fastest in Touring Class in his Honda Civic followed by P.J. Groenke in his VW GTI and Michel Sallenbach in his Mini Cooper S.
A light rain began to fall as the grid formed for the first race of the season. At the green flag, Richard Boake led into corner one while the field searched for grip with their slick tires. Conditions got worse and Arek Wojciechowski pressured Boake into sliding of the track for a moment despite his all-wheel drive Subaru. Both Luc Lesage in his Scion tC, Bob Attrell in his Hyundai Genesis Coupe and Alex Healy in his Acura RSX got caught out in the conditions and slid into the tires. A full course caution was required to retrieve them. The sun came out as the checkered flag was waved and Gary Kwok in his Honda Civic won in Touring Class over his brother Tom in his Honda Civic and Michel Sallenbach in his Mini Cooper S. Richard Boake won in Super Class with his Subaru Sti followed by Arek Wojciechowski in his BMW 328i and Dean Fantin in his BMW 330i.
The Pfaff VW Jetta pacecar led the field to the green flag under sunny and clear conditions. Richard Boake was first into corner one followed by Arek Wojciechowski and Dean Fantin. The pace was about 15 seconds faster than Saturday due to the dry track. Gary Kwok maintained his dominance over the balance of the Touring Class competitors. Alex Healy and Bob Attrell moved up from the back of the field to finish in fifth and sixth respectively in Super Class. Luc Lesage came from behind also to finish sixth in Touring Class. At the checkered flag it was Richard Boake in his Subaru Sti winning in Super Class with Arek Wojciechowski in his BMW 328i second and Etienne Borgeat third in his Pontiac Solstice. Gary Kwok won Touring Class in his Honda Civic followed by his brother Tom and P.J. Groenke in his VW GTI. The final results are pending due to a technical review.
Next up for the Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship presented by Continental Tire is the Grand Prix of Mirabel at Circuit ICAR, June 3-5.