Three Score Repeat World Challenge Wins
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – Michael DiMeo (Touring Car), Jason Wolfe (Touring Car A) and Brian Price (Touring Car B-Spec) all repeated their Friday wins in the second race of the three-race weekend for the Pirelli World Challenge Championships at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
None of the three started from pole position this race, which made their victories today all the more interesting.
DiMeo, in the No. 71 LiUNA Honda Civic Si for Compass 360 Racing, started second behind Gary Kwok in the No. 88 M&S Quality Produce Honda Civic Si. Kwok had the pole position by virtue of his fastest lap in round two.
But on lap three, DiMeo made the move on Kwok for the lead into turn one. He was able to methodically expand the margin from there over the course of the 23-lap race. At one point it was more than 5.4 seconds, but DiMeo held on to win by 3.862 seconds over Kwok. The win is DiMeo’s third in as many races this season, and third of his Pirelli World Challenge career.
“I think special would be the word in winning three straight races in my first three series starts, because there’s so much going on pre-season to get everything ready, to get all the sponsorship support,” said DiMeo. “This past Thursday at CTMP was the first time in the rain for me, Barber was the first time I was in the car. I’m learning a lot everyday. It feels awesome. I hope we can continue to be this consistent throughout the rest of the season so we can continue to build the point lead.”
Gary’s brother Tom Kwok, in the No. 63 M&S Quality Produce Honda Civic Si and DiMeo’s teammate, Compass 360 Racing team principal Karl Thomson, in the No. 72 CTF/Racing4Research/HPD Honda Civic Si finished third and fourth once again.
The top four in TC mirrored the top four on Friday, making it a Canadian P1-4 sweep for the second straight day.
Adam Poland finished fifth in the No. 11 Eastex Motorsports/Poland Construction Mazda MX-5. Due to mechanicals, neither Jason Saini nor Jon Miller were able to start round three. Saini is hopeful of racing in Sunday’s round four, while Miller is withdrawn for the rest of the weekend.
In TCA, Shea Holbrook in the No. 67 TRUECar/Lucas Oil/Radium Honda Civic Si, had the pole position after her fastest lap in round two. But Wolfe, in the No. 36 Wolfe Trucking Kia Forte Koup, made it through on lap two in what netted him the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race award.
Wolfe held off a three-way challenge from Holbrook, Ernie Francis Jr. and Jason Cherry the rest of the way for his second career win. Holbrook tried a move on Wolfe into turn one on the final lap, but it backfired. With momentum, Francis was able to move past her into second in the No. 98 Breathless Performance Mazda MX-5.
Holbrook secured the final podium position over Cherry in the No. 13 Autism Society of America/Avpro/Purposeful Architecture Mazda MX-5. Russell Smith was fifth in the No. 38 Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup for the second day in a row.
TCB was a bit more chaotic. Tyler Palmer set the fastest lap in round two in the No. 37 MINI of Charleston Racing/MINIUSA.com Mini Cooper, so that car had the pole position set for round three.
The difference was Palmer wouldn’t be driving and instead handed off to Nick Lougee in his first Pirelli World Challenge race. Lougee was due to start ahead of Nathan Stacy, Nick Wittmer, Jason Fichter and round two winner Brian Price.
Wittmer was unable to make the start in the No. 00 Shriners Hospitals for Children FIAT 500. He, along with Chris Capaldi, in the No. 31 Wolverine Bronze/Capaldi Racing Ford Fiesta and Andrei Kisel, in the No. 57 Racing.ca/LaptopScreen.com Mini Cooper, also failed to start round three after retirements in round two. That left the field at just eight cars for the start.
On lap one, Stacy, in the No. 14 TSG/Ford Racing Ford Fiesta, spun out at turn nine, and Paul Holton in the No. 65 Radium/TRUECar/Lucas Oil Honda Fit had an apparent flat tire which took them both out of the equation.
As Lougee fell back Price, who started fifth in the No. 51 Unlimited Racing/RP Performance Honda Fit, made a dynamic start from fifth on the grid to go to the lead by the end of the first lap with several moves over the course of the lap. Price’s efforts earned him the Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race award, and overall, the gains secured him the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.
There were two other big movers. Jason Fichter gained three spots on the start in the No. 7 Surf Fire & Security Mini Cooper to take home the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award. Fichter made it to second and Jim Cleveland in the No. 78 Downunder Motorsports Mini Cooper, made it to third, in what was one of his best races.
Stacy recovered from his lap one spin and Lougee also entered the podium battle behind Price. On lap 17, Stacy passed Cleveland for fourth, while on lap 18, Lougee passed Fichter for second and Stacy was just behind in the battle for third.
By lap 21, Fichter was able to make it back around Lougee for third, and shortly thereafter Stacy made it past Lougee for the final podium position.
Price won from Fichter by 3.988 seconds. The trio of Fichter, Stacy and Lougee were separated by only .661 of a second, and Cleveland in fifth posted a career best finish, and first ever Pirelli World Challenge top-five.