Wednesday 25 May 2022 by Philippe Brasseur
The Super Production Challenge series kicked off the season at Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) this past weekend. Three races were scheduled, but only one really counted, after the 1st was stopped by an accident on the 2nd lap and the 2nd was canceled due to weather conditions.
Saturday, before the mini-tornado that hit the site, the start of the first event was stormy. It must be said that with 43 cars in action, the chance of seeing some incidents was high. It was on the 2nd lap that the collision that ended the race prematurely, when Mario Charrette overtook Owen Clarke who in turn pushed Christian Raymond into the rail. Clarke and Raymond’s cars were destroyed in the incident and the race was never resumed as the time it took to repair the rails was very long.
It was finally on Sunday morning, in the rain, that the first real race of the season could finally start. A conventional start instead of a standing start, which is easy to understand as the risks on a dry track are already very high to start over 40 cars with a standing start, imagine the disaster this had in the rain can cause!
Although neutralized at times, this race was spectacular. In the foreground, Olivier Bédard, the reigning champion in his Nissan Z from Xtreme Motorsports, had to fight several laps with one of his teammates, former double series champion Kurt Wittmer. In the end, Bédard won, ahead of Wittmer and Charles-André Bilodeau (Ford Mustang Ecoboost).
Ontarians Eric Hochgeschurz (BMW 330i) and Nicholas Hornbostel (Nissan Z) complete the Top 4, ahead of Alexandre Lapierre (Acura TSX-S) and Michael Habrich, in another Xtreme Motorsports Nissan Z. So this team places 4 cars in the first 7.
The participants from the Production class also put on an excellent show during this event. Their overall performance was impressive on a very fast track that normally favors the more powerful SP class cars. Despite this, Alexandre Brosseau and Ontarian Joel Watts led their Honda Civic Si to the Top 10 in all categories (8th and 9th overall). Brosseau wins the category by a small lead of less than half a second over Watts. Nelson Chan (Mini Cooper) rounded out the podium, ahead of Shawn Greely (Mazda RX-8) and Paul Gravel (Mini Cooper).
In the Compact class, no fewer than 9 pilots were at the start. A record for this category. At the wheel of his Nissan Micra, which earned him the title of category champion (Trophée poleposition.ca) last year, Ouellet made a triumphant debut in the Super Production Challenge. He is ahead of Toronto’s Steven Scala (Toyota Echo Cup) at the finish, but only 301 thousandths of a second separate the two drivers. Rookie Étienne Samson-Laflamme (Toyota Écho Cup) finished 3rd ahead of another rookie, Vincent Desautels (Toyota Écho Cup) and veteran Patrik Wittmer (Honda Fit).
Judging a race with more than 40 entries is difficult. We inevitably forget to underline great performances, comebacks or overtakes from certain pilots because even when we are on the site it is impossible to see everything. Several also took to social networks to express their frustration at the accidents, neutralizations and the race that was halted on Saturday. Very justified frustrations when you are piloting a mistake or the clumsiness of someone else. But let’s not forget one thing: most drivers competing in a Canadian motorsport series are not used to racing on such a large field, with traffic and constant risk of contact. In addition, on a fast track like Mosport and in difficult weather conditions like Sunday’s race.
Several SPC drivers have to learn to deal with this new situation, these tight platoon races that they have never experienced before. This requires a lot of respect on the track and a lot of control over your driving style. Some have both, others have yet to perfect them. Punishing after the fact like the umpires, regardless of the series, often doesn’t help much. Making drivers aware of the realities of the 2022 season and the challenges on the track will undoubtedly be more profitable.
For the complete standings of the races (the ones that stopped, the canceled and the actual place!) of Mosport, click here. You will also find the standings in the championship, in the three classes. Also check out our photo galleries of the series during this event, by clicking here and here.
Finally, don’t miss our special presentation of the Super Production Challenge 2022 season on the pages of the next Pole-Position Magazine. A seasonal mini guide to discover!