Local favorite Daniel Morad started dominated the opening race of the PWC weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park today, winning from pole position in tough, wet conditions driving the #2 CRP Mercedes AMG GT3.
For 28-year-old Morad, it was his first PWC GT Sprint race win at the legendary 2.459-mile, 10-turn road circuit. During the race he managed to gap the field and create a healthy lead by lapping almost a second per lap faster than the chasing pack. Later, he held an 18-second advantage by lap 25, but by the end of the race, his lead had shrun to just 4.5 seconds over Michael Christensen’s Alegra Porsche which finished second.
“I was surprised at how well the Pirelli tires were staying together considering the track was nearly bone-dry at the end of the race,” said Morad.
“It was the grace of tire management that helped. It seemed like a little bit of deja vu between Scott (Hargrove) and I because in GT3 Cup we used to run here, and we used to be first and second and go down in the first turn. But it never ended like it did here today. It used to end in tears and today, it didn’t. It’s nice to be here. I’m local, and I have all my friends and family and sponsors here to see it.”
Christensen, in the #24 Alegra Porsche 911 GT3 R, drove well late in the race to hold off Long Beach GT Sprint winner Daniel Mancinelli’s #31 TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 and GT Overall point leader Scott Hargrove Canadian team Pfaff Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Rounding out the top-five in the GT division Saturday was veteran Toni Vilander in the #61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 followed by 2016 GT champion Alvaro Parente’s #9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3. Parente made a great charge late in the race after switching to slicks on lap 21. Parente also set the fastest race lap and will therefore start on the pole for Sunday’s race.
Parker Chase, meanwhile, won the GTA class. He qualified fourth overall Saturday morning and in the rain drove really well in the wet conditions. However, after his tyres faded late as the track dried out, Parker had to hold off former GT series champion Martin Fuentes to take the class win. At the checkered flag, Chase was just half a second up the road from the Mexican.
Third in the GTA class went to Long Beach GTA winner Yuki Harata in the #55 Dream Racing Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
“The last 10 to 15 minutes were really frightening for me,” said Chase. “We fell off quite a bit towards the end in the dry conditions and all the Ferrari (Fuentes) had quite a bit of pace at the end. I saw him in my rear-view mirror coming quick and I just tried to do everything that I could to go as fast as I could without burning out the tires even more.
“When he finally caught me, I was doing everything in my power to keep him behind me, driving different lines every time so he couldn’t predict anything. It was close but I’m glad we could come up with our first win.”
Featured image courtesy of PWC