Grand Sport McLaren 570S GT4
- Paul Holton
- Matt Plumb
BOWMANVILLE, ON — Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (a track formerly known as “Mosport”) hosted the Pirelli World Challenge’s third and fourth rounds of the Touring Car championship this past weekend, and provided close, exciting racing in variable weather conditions throughout the event.
Saturday’s race was held under sunny skies, with cool temperatures in the low 60’s. C360R / Compass Racing’s Paul Holton had qualified the No.71 Pfaff Automotive / AlphaClone / AERO / APR / Audi Genuine Parts RS 3 LMS on pole position on Friday, and was set for a good battle with the other front-runners at the team’s home track. Second-place man Nick Wittmer took the lead into turn one, and led for a few laps until Holton took the lead back with a nice clean move around the outside of corner two. Paul never looked back and finished the race in P1, notching his second win of the season.
“The Audi works so well at high-speed tracks like this one,” noted Holton. “Nick got a great start when the green flag fell, and I had to slot in behind to protect from Karl (Wittmer)’s Honda, who was coming on strong. Then I had a chance to make the pass and get back to first. It was nice, clean racing at the front, and congratulations to the Wittmer brothers for their podiums.”
Sunday’s race was held in the early morning under ominous skies. With light showers occurring just before the pace lap, race officials allowed the teams to change to rain tires. The team opted for a conservative strategy, which the other championship leaders did as well. Holton led early ahead of Greg Liefooghe and Nick Wittmer, who were second and third in the championship, but all three were swallowed up by those that had opted for slicks. At the checkered flag, Holton was eighth, with Liefooghe in seventh and Wittmer sixth. Paul now leads the championship with 12 points over Greg.
“This weekend was kind of a mixed bag, to be honest,” Holton said. “We managed two pole positions and a race win on Saturday, which really helped our championship. On Sunday, we took a conservative approach and put on wet-weather tires as there looked to be a good chance of rain. In the end that never materialized, but finishing eighth and immediately behind our main championship rivals meant it was the right call for us.”
“It was a great day for Audi, and with Paul's win on Saturday and J.T. (Coupal) finishing second Sunday, we’re still tied for first with BMW in the Manufacturer’s Championship, and Paul jumped up to the top of the Driver’s standings” remarked Team Principal Karl Thomson. “When you’re fighting for a championship, in this stage of the season, taking the long view is important. The wet weather tires can work in dry conditions, but the slicks are just diabolical in the rain."
The races from Canadian Tire Motorsports Park will be broadcast tape-delayed on CBS Sports and available to view after that on the World Challenge website (http://world-challenge.com/).
The next event on the PWC TC schedule is in just a few days on May 26th – 27th. Tickets are available at http://limerockpark.com).