Over the past few race weekends there has been a bit of grumbling around the media room about the Canadian touring cars and the somewhat shrunken grids as compared to last year. Beyond the series thoroughly up to date and exciting marketing endeavors, the Castrol Canadian Touring Car competitors proved this series is the place to race yesterday by putting on the absolute best race of the annual Grand Prix of Mosport. From the first lap to the finish line, there was excitement everywhere on track.
Not surprisingly, the familiar red, white and green Hyundai Genesis Coupe of Sasha Anis led the field towards me in turn 1. That lead didn’t last though as an uncharacteristic tie rod failure stuffed Anis into the tires in 3. That left Richard Boake in the black and yellow Subaru in the lead with Arek Wojciechowski in second.
Behind them, the battle for the touring class was hot and resulted in lots of excitement for the fans at Moss Corner. There had been a 3 car battle between Kurt Langeveldt’s Mazda, the MINI of Michel Sallenbach and P.J. Groenke’s VW. The line between a driver blocking and protecting his line is a fuzzy one and sometimes push comes to shove. In this case, Langeveldt had been holding up Sallenbach and Groenke for several laps when he overcooked his exit at 5. The MINI driver took the opening and the Volkswagen followed. The resulting contact took all 3 out of the race, with the VW and MINI both sustaining heavy damage. Luc Lesage was the first beneficiary of that incident, taking over the lead in his Scion tC, followed very closely by Tom Kwok and Damon Sharpe, both driving Hondas.
In the closing laps of the race, Wojciechowski battled hard to figure out where he would have his best chance to take the lead from the Subaru. From my vantage point outside White’s Corner, you could see the BMW taking a different line every lap to decide what was giving him the most exit speed. On the second last lap, he launched off of the corner so hard that he caught Boake and tucked up right under his back bumper. It was clear what was going to happen on the final lap! The next time around, Arek took the same line and accelerated hard. Instead of tucking in behind though, he pulled to the right and out dragged Richard to the finish line by just 0.014 seconds! This gave Wojciechowski his first ever win.
A few moments later, the Touring Class leaders came through with Super Class 3rd place finisher Dean Fantin in their midst. Lesage gave Scion their first ever win in the series with Kwok in the second spot. Special mention has to go out to Damon Sharpe for bringing the Buster Rhinos Civic Si to the podium for the first time. He was in a hurry to get back to the paddock to enjoy some BBQ!
With exciting on track action like this and equally exciting marketing activities, the CTCC is proving without a doubt that this is THE series to watch in Canada.