BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – Marco Polo Motorsports driver Nicolai Elghanayan, behind the wheel of his KTM X-bow, won Saturday morning’s Pirelli GT4 America Sprint series race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
It was his first victory of the season.
The 50-minute, 32-lap contest featured an exciting duel between pole sitter Elghanayan and second-place starter Spencer Pumpelly.
When the green flag waved, Elghanayan held the lead over Pumpelly, with three-time series champion Michael Cooper in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren 570S GT4 slotting into third. Pumpelly though overtook Elghanayan to head the pack later in the first lap, but as the leaders came to the line, race control issued a full-course yellow when the No. 53 McLaren 570S GT4 of Matthew Fassnacht bumped the wall on back straight ending his day. In the Am division, Jarett Andretti in the No. 18 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S GT4, who qualified sixth overall, had moved up into fourth overall.
On the lap six restart, Pumpelly led Elghanayan, Cooper, Andretti and Am competitor Drew Staveley in the No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ford Mustang GT4 to the line.
Pumpelly and Elghanayan then began an intense back and forth duel for the lead that lasted for numerous laps. Elghanayan would pass for the lead, only to have Pumpelly come back to regain the lead. As the two waged a heated battle up front, Cooper still held third over Andretti in fourth.
On lap 26 through turn 10, Elghanayan grabbed the lead from Pumpelly and this time he would not relinquish it – by lap 28 he had built an eight-car lead over Pumpelly. Cooper continued to hold 3rd but Pro Driver Championship contenders Gar Robinson, piloting the No. 74 Robinson Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4 and Ian James, in the No. 50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT4 had moved into fourth and fifth, pushing Andretti back.
At the checkered, Elghanayan crossed the line for the victory 1.6 seconds ahead of Pumpelly. Cooper finished third. A late race charge had Andretti finishing 4th overall and 1st in the Am division. James rounded out the top-five (fourth in the Pro division).
In the Am division, Staveley took second and Alan Brynjolfsson driving the No. 7 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman CS MR finished third.