BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – Local favorite Daniel Morad started on the pole and never looked back Saturday in capturing the Pirelli World Challenge GT Sprint race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Morad, the personable 28-year-old driver, drove his No. 2 CRP Racing/DeVilbiss Mercedes-AMG GT3 sports car to his first PWC GT Sprint race win at the legendary 2.459-mile, 10-turn road circuit in the rain-soaked 50-minute event. Seventeen-year-old Parker Chase won his first Pirelli World Challenge race by driving the No. 19 TruSpeed Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT3 to the GTA class victory Saturday.
Morad was extremely fast in the wet conditions as he expanded his lead nearly one second per lap for the first 20 laps before the Pirelli rain tires began to dry out the racing surface. He held an 18-second advantage by lap 25 in the 35-lap contest and defeated Denmark’s Michael Christensen by 4.576 seconds at the checkered flag.
Christensen, in the No. 24 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, drove a tremendous race late in the event to hold off Long Beach GT Sprint winner Daniel Mancinelli in the No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 and GT Overall point leader Scott Hargrove in the Toronto-based No. 96 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I was surprised at how well the Pirelli tires were staying together considering the track was nearly bone-dry at the end of the race,” said Morad. “It was the grace of tire management that helped. It seemed like a little bit of deja vu between Scott (Hargrove) and I because in GT3 Cup we used to run here, and we used to be first and second and go down in the first turn. But it never ended like it did here today. It used to end in tears and today, it didn’t. It’s nice to be here. I’m local, and I have all my friends and family and sponsors here to see it.”
Rounding out the top-five in the GT division Saturday was veteran Toni Vilander in the Toronto-established No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 followed by 2016 GT champion Alvaro Parente in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3.
Parente made a great charge late in the race after switching to slick (dry) tires on lap 21. Parente also set the fastest race lap (112.19 miles per hour) and will start on the pole for Sunday’s GT event.
Chase, the high school student racing in the GTA class as a rookie, qualified fourth overall Saturday morning in the rain and drove a sensational race in wet conditions. However, after the rain tires faded in the drier racing surface, Parker had to hold off former GT series champion Martin Fuentes of Mexico to capture his initial GTA race. At the checkered flag, Chase bested Fuentes, driving the No. 07 Squadra Corse Garage Italia Ferrari 488 GT3, by just .559 of a second.
Third in the GTA class went to Long Beach GTA winner Yuki Harata in the No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan GT3 followed by VIR overall winner Rodrigo Baptista of Brazil in the No. 3 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3.
“The last 10 to 15 minutes were really frightening for me,” said Chase. “We fell off quite a bit towards the end in the dry conditions and all the Ferrari (Fuentes) had quite a bit of pace at the end. I saw him in my rear-view mirror coming quick and I just tried to do everything that I could to go as fast as I could without burning out the tires even more. When he finally caught me, I was doing everything in my power to keep him behind me, driving different lines every time so he couldn’t predict anything. It was close but I’m glad we could come up with our first win.”