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Toronto’s Cirone Wins Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada at His Home Track

Marco Cirone emerged victorious after a hard battle with Randy Oswald. Photo by freidrichphoto.com/IMSAHeat was the order of the day in more ways than just the weather, as the battle for the first Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada victory at Mosport was a race-long clash between two Torontonians, Marco Cirone and Randy Oswald, in extreme late afternoon heat.

Oswald started on the pole but couldn’t stop the charging Cirone who took the Platinum Cup victory, with Michael Levitas keeping Shaun McKaigue at bay in Gold Cup and Bob Seitz taking Silver Cup over Gabor Foti.

Cirone, driving the #88 6th Gear Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car was happy to put the morning’s race in the US IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge behind him, as a terrific drive from fourth to second went for naught when he went off course with only three turns left in the race. He started fourth again this afternoon, teaming up with Melanie Snow (#56 Snow Racing) to get around Oswald’s teammate Carlos Gomez (#75 TRG/Axis of Oversteer) early in the race. Cirone then went after Oswald, behind the wheel the #14 TRG/Verax Porsche, making the pass on lap 10 of 32 caution-free laps. It was all Cirone could do to finish the 45 minute race, as he could see temperatures of 128 degrees Fahrenheit inside his Porsche.

I had to get by Melanie and Carlos and once I got by them, my team told me I was faster than Randy, so I tried to put the pressure on,” said Cirone. “Finally I got behind him and I stayed behind him for a few laps - he was difficult to pass! I had to really calculate it properly and when I made the pass in turn five, we were side by side; he was a gentleman, he didn’t turn in. He’s a great driver, we’ve raced against each other a lot.

“This feels really good, especially after this morning’s race. I had some debris on my tires and made a mental mistake and went off. I was so upset, because I really wanted to do well in my hometown. So this makes up for it – but I’m glad I didn’t have to go a single lap further!”

“It was a great race,” agreed Oswald. “Marco put a fantastic pass on me, he really earned that win. I was really loose in the second corner on the first lap and I was afraid I was going to lose it but somehow, I came out of there with a big lead. I just put my head down and drove as hard as I could, but I could see Marco coming. We’re really good friends – we’ve raced against each other a lot and I knew we’d do battle out here. It’s awesome to race at home at Mosport, to put on such a great show for our family, friends and sponsors. We ran some really fast laps, but I would have loved a full course yellow, it was really hot out there!”

Michael Levitas took the win in the Gold Cup class. Photo by freidrichphoto.com/IMSAMichael Levitas put the #36 TPC Racing Porsche on the Gold Cup class pole and didn’t relinquish the position, keeping Platinum Cup cars between himself and Shaun McKaigue in the #34 Fiorano Racing/Fer-Pal Porsche. To say Levitas was happy to win at Mosport is an understatement.

“What a great race!” enthused Levitas. “I love racing in Canada – I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to race at Mosport. I’ve been racing here since 1998 and I love racing here. It was an up and down day for me – I’ve was fighting a tight race car in the US GT3 race. I wasn’t able to get it into the corners so we made a big change before this race and it really improved the car. But we can get even a little more for tomorrow!”

“The start was wild,” said McKaigue. “I ended up right behind Martin Harvey on the first lap, we were still on cold tires and he lost it coming out of turn 10. It was really close, I just missed him! But it gave me a gap between me and the guys behind me. I tried to chase Mike down, but he had too much for me!”

Seitz has run both of the two previous Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada events in his #58 SpeedMerchants/Fiorano Racing Porsche all by himself in Silver Cup class. Joined this weekend by teammate Gabor Foti, the two spent much of the race fighting amongst themselves.

“It was a great race,” said Seitz. “We were pretty close early on, then traffic started coming through, which slowed Gabor down. I put my foot down and tried to keep them behind me, but they were able to get by on the straightaway. But I don’t think either of us made any big mistakes today, Gabor was right on my tail for much of the time and I knew that if I did make a mistake, he’d be right there. But with the heat, it was really hard to concentrate at the end!”

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada is divided into three classes; Platinum Cup, featuring the more powerful 2011 and 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars; Gold Cup, which includes 2005½ - 2009 Porsches, and the Silver Cup class for 2002 – 2005½ 996 Porsches. All three classes run on Michelin Cup N1 tires.

The final round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada will take the green flag Sunday at 8:55am. Live timing is at www.gt3timing.ca

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