Roman De Angelis is in a league of his own this year in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama, as showcased once again this past weekend at Indy Toronto.
In a rare statistical feat, De Angelis started from the pole position in both rounds of the doubleheader weekend after having posted the two fastest laps in Saturday’s qualifying- with both Laps 8 and 9 being an identical time of one minute, 12.966 seconds. The first instance scored him the pole for Race 1 on Saturday, while the second scored him the pole for Race 2 – for which the grid is set by either a driver’s second quickest qualifying lap or their fastest lap in Race 1 – whichever is fastest.
On Sunday, the 18-year-old from Belle River, Ontario, took ownership of the lead from the drop of the green flag and proceeded on to another flag-to-flag victory as he did on Saturday. It was De Angelis’ third consecutive weekend sweep in GT3 Cup Challenge Canada and seventh consecutive victory through eight rounds of the season.
As De Angelis describes, the only difference between his Race 1 win on Saturday and his Race 2 victory on Sunday was the weather. Drivers faced mixed weather conditions for the first race of the doubleheader, while Sunday offered sunny skies and higher temperatures.
"The heat definitely plays a factor when you’re driving, especially when there’s not a lot going on around you," said De Angelis. "It was kind of quiet out there today, so trying to keep focused with the heat. You’re sweating and we’re losing our energy pretty much the whole time. Just trying to keep focused is really difficult."
With four rounds remaining in the 2019 season, De Angelis holds a strong lead in the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada championship. The next two rounds will take place at Road America on August 2 – 4, which will be the second and final joint event of the year with Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, which De Angelis also competes in. The first came in June at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, which was De Angelis first doubleheader victory of the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada season.
"I’m looking forward to Road America. I think Montreal was really fun and a great event for us in general, so hopefully we can do the same thing we did there. It’s always fun when the Americans and the Canadians go at it together, especially being part of both, so I’m really looking forward to that."
Finishing second on the podium in both races at Indy Toronto was Jeff Kingsley in the No. 16 Policaro Motorsport Porsche.
Third on the leaderboard and also earning the Yokohama Tire Hard Charger Award for gaining the most positions during the 45-minute race was Michael Di Meo in the No. 96 Porsche for OpenRoad Racing. Di Meo, at his hometown event, started seventh on the grid but ended up on the podium, even despite a scratch against the wall to start the race.
"We started seventh and in a field where all the cars are so closely matched, it’s tough to even gain one position in a race, let alone we came back to third," said Di Meo. "We just drove hard, never lost focus even though we hit the wall pretty good in the first couple laps. I thought the car was going to be pretty mangled because it felt like a hard hit. The guys came on the radio and just said to stay calm, let the race come to you and drive it, whatever it is, just drive it and keep going.
"One by one we got lucky and we picked some people off and maintained the pace, which I thought was pretty good despite the car we had. I couldn’t believe we ended up in third."
Meanwhile, following in the footsteps of his Mark Motors teammate, Marco Cirone in the No. 88 Porsche scored his fourth consecutive Platinum Masters victory, after sweeping the weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last week and doing so again this weekend at Indy Toronto. Cirone is in search of his sixth GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Platinum Masters championship
"That was fantastic," said Cirone. "The team as usual gives me an awesome car. Today I woke up and I said, ‘I’m going to try as hard, I’m not going to be as timid as I was yesterday considering the conditions.’ I woke up to drive this morning. I was very aggressive. I tried to stay as clean as possible and the results were great for us. Finishing fourth overall and first in Masters, I couldn’t ask for any better."
An incident early in the race halted on-track action for about 10 minutes, with the No. 99 Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports Porsche Alan Metni scraping the wall and careening into the back of Patrick Dussault’s No. 77 Lauzon Autosport Porsche. While both cars made strong impact into the Turn 9 tire barriers, each driver was able to walk away.
The next two races for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama at Road America will be streamed live on IMSA.tv over the course of the weekend on August 2 – 4. Alongside GT3 Cup Challenge USA, the first race of the weekend is scheduled for Saturday, August 3 at 11:30 a.m. ET, with Race 2 on Sunday at 9:40 a.m. The finale rounds of the 2019 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada season will take place at Circuit Mont-Tremblant on September 27 – 29.
To keep up with GT3 Cup Challenge Canada news and updates for the remainder of the season, please visit IMSA.com or Porsche.com/Canada and join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #GT3Canada and #IMSA.
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