The sun was out for the entire Honda Indy Toronto weekend, making it the perfect setting for drivers and race fans. And what a weekend of racing it was! The drama began before the event even did, with some interesting developments in the driver roster. A number of competitors would not be able to make the race, resulting in a smaller-than-normal field. Among those unable to belt in for the 30th Toronto Indy was Alegra/Porsche Centre Oakville Motorsport’s own Michael de Quesada. Unfortunately, his Cup car was sold before the race, relegating him to the sidelines–a tough pill to swallow for any driver. The business of racing takes place both on and off the track. For this race the Alegra/ Porsche Centre Oakville team would field two cars, No. 17, piloted by Daniel Morad and No. 07, driven by Tim Sanderson, both hometown favourites . And while the grid would be smaller for this race, all the top competitors would be there, including Scott Hargrove, Chris Green, Zachary Robichon and Marco Cirone. Morad and Sanderson both had excellent qualifying sessions, securing P2 for the Platinum Cup and P1 for the Master class respectively. With race one set to begin, Robichon experienced difficulties with starting his cup car, and he was immediately forced to the back of the pack. The green flag dropped and the racers dove into turn one. As has been the case for the majority of the season, Morad and Hargrove quickly began battling for position. As the race wore on, Hargrove began to pull away from the field, building up a 10-second lead over the second-place Morad. All signs pointed to Hargrove taking the win and securing an additional 20 points. However, disaster would strike Hargrove’s GT3 as it lost power and rolled to a standstill. It must have been a devastating moment for the racer as the rest of the field sped by. In the blink of an eye Morad found himself in the lead a position, which he would maintain for the remainder of the race.
“It honestly took me a lap to realize what happened,” said Morad afterward. “I saw [Hargrove’s] car, but it took awhile to process that he was actually out of the race. I feel really bad for Scott (Hargrove) because he drove an awesome race and deserved to win that, but I’ve had bad luck in previous races this year. For instance, the last one at Watkins Glen. I was leading and a lapped car compromised my race, and I had to finish second. This is a big gift for me, one that I need, and it was overdue.”
While Morad took the lead, Sanderson continued to battle with his arch rival Marco Cirone. Accustom to being in pursuit of Marco’s bumper, Tim found his opponent in his rear-view mirror for much of the race, crossing the finish line for a first-place victory in the Master’s class and a third place finish overall.
Night fell over the 6ix and the race teams went to work repairing the GT3 for then next day's battle. The drop of the green flag for race two brought a clean start. Hargrove took the lead with Morad tight on his bumper. The two racers we inseparable through the first two turns, but Morad spotted an opportunity leading into turn 3. He took the outside line with some gusto, hoping to hit the hole at speed. Unfortunately, he carried a little too much momentum into the corner and was forced into the run-off area. When he expertly spun the car around and re-joined the race, it was from fifth position. But fans of Alegra/Porsche Centre Oakville’s Motorsport team know that Morad is not one to throw in the towel during a race. Morad dug in and started to gain on the field, making a move from fifth to fourth, and then from fourth to third. This is what exciting racing is all about. Robichon, in second place at the time would soon look in his rear view mirror and see a spot of red growing steadily larger. A lap later that small spot of red, Morad’s No. 17 GT3, was all he could see. Coming into turn eight on the final lap, Morad made a bold passing move and claimed second place. While he ran out of racing time to catch Hargrove, he put on one hell of a drivers clinic in the process of attempting to catch him.
Sanderson would finish the race in fourth place and top of the Platinum Masters class for both of the weekend’s races. The weekend closes out with the Alegra/Porsche Centre Oakville team moving up in the standings on both the team and driver level. With Hargrove’s unfortunate mechanical failure in race one, Morad launched into first place in the Cup Championship. However, he only remains a few points ahead of Hargrove and there are four races left in the season, plenty of time for the tables to turn. Both teams are going to have to bring their A game to each event going forward. We’ll be ready when they do, and we’ll be sure to keep you up to speed.
Date Posted: July 25, 2016