CTCC - Attrell, Hochgeschurz, Sallenbach claim Class titles
The two final rounds of the Canadian Touring Car Championship (CTCC) presented by Pirelli where held on a single day at Circuit ICAR in Mirabel, Québec this past weekend.
Individual strategies differed as the class leaders mentally juggled the mathematics, while their rivals knew that only race victories would alter the issue of the season.
Unfortunately, for title contenders Chris Sahakian (GT Sport) and Scott Nicol (Touring), non-finishes due to mechanical and contact issues in Round 13 - the first race of the day - greatly hampered their opportunities to mount a championship challenge.
GT Sport pole sitter Gary Kwok cut into Bob Attrell’s points lead with the overall and class victory. Just 2.2 seconds in arrears of Kwok’s No. 66 M&S Racing TCR Spec Honda Civic was the Attrell No. 88 Hyundai Racing Canada Genesis, quietly and confidently accepting the runner-up position. To complete the trio, Ashely Sahakian - Chris' sister - was able to get her first pro series third place podium with her No. 7 United Auto Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302 S.
Jean-Francois Hevey, driving The Racing Company’s No. 12 Porsche Cayman S, took victory over Super Touring class point leader Eric Hochgeschurz, with Nathalie Hénault in third place (No. 20 Subaru WRX STI Quick Series/Lachute Performance).
In the Touring category, Michel Sallenbach solidified his position atop the class standings with a victory over Team Octane MINI teammates Alain Lauzière and Paul Gravel.
Final race of the season
With less than three hours to repair and regroup, the season finale was flagged away with Gary Kwok again asserting his dominance and after 25 laps around the 3.600-kilometre ICAR circuit the driver of the M&S Racing Honda accepted the chequered flag for his fifth victory of the season.
Bob Attrell recorded another second-place finish, finishing 20.6 seconds behind the winner, and claiming his ninth podium result of the 2017 campaign. Riding a record that saw Attrell notch three race victories and ten top 10 finishes in 14 race starts, the Brampton, Ontario driver was awarded the GT Sport class crown.
Due to contact-induced damage in the opening race, Eric Hochgeschurz was forced into a back up car for Race 14, and as a result came to the green flag from the back of the pack. Carving his way towards the front, he gratefully acknowledged the chequered flag in second spot, albeit well in arrears of Super Touring class race winner Hevey.
Entering into the final date on the schedule with a small 50-point advantage over both Hevey and the No. 20 Subaru of Nathalie Hénault, Hochgeschurz was fully aware of what he needed to accomplish in order to maintain his lead in the Super Touring class ranking and he accomplished his goal, securing his second consecutive Super Touring title by the narrowest of margins.
For multi-time Touring class champion Michel Sallenbach, his years of experience in CTCC paid dividends as the Roxton Pond, Québec resident paced himself over the final two races, content to finish in the points while letting his class rivals battle for the win.
Building up a record of eight class victories and four runner-up results prior to the ICAR races, Sallenbach enjoyed a virtually unbeatable points lead and was able to save his No. 46 Mini Coupe JCW in the finale. With the 2017 Touring Class title assured, Sallenbach was able to sit back and watch past champions Alain Lauzière (No. 45 Mini Cooper) and primary point challenger Scott Nicol and his No. 41 Velocity Motorsports Honda battle for the top step of the Touring class podium, a battle that was decided at the chequered flag with Lauzière taking the win in his only his second CTCC appearance of the year.
GT Sport Class – Final Standings after Round 14
1. Bob Attrell Hyundai Racing Canada 1544 points
2. Chris Sahakian United Auto Racing 1324 points
3. Gary Kwok M&S Racing 1315 points
4. Ashley Sahakian United Auto Racing 1027 points
5. Tom Kwok M&S Racing 536 points
Super Touring Class – Final Standings after Round 14
1. Eric Hochgeschurz 8Legs Racing 1576 points
2. Jean-François Hevey The Racing Company 1535 points
3. Nathalie Hénault Quick Series Racing 1510 points
4. Jeff Kingsley SCB Racing 1264 points
5. Rocco Marciello RMP Competizione 603 points
Touring Class – Final Standings after Round 14
1. Michel Sallenbach Team Octane 1754 points
2. Scott Nicol Velocity Motorsports Club 1414 points
3. Paul Gravel Team Octane 1296 points
4. Jon Young M&S Racing 973 points
5. Nelson Chan Team Octane 859 points
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