Richard Baker claimed the TCR title of the Sports Car Canada Championship. While his rivals experienced technical issues and dropped out of contention – Justin Di Benedetto in Race 1 and Richard Boake in Race 2 – Baker settled the matter in the first two races, with a second place and a victory before finishing on a high note with another win in a shortened Race 3. As for, Boake he added two podium results to his win in Race 1 to finish runner-up in the championship.
Race 1 – Baker (1:22.548) and Boake (1:22.695) had been faster in Qualifying. Baker made good use of the pole and led from Di Benedetto who had started from P3, while Boake dropped to fourth behind Gary Kwok. Between laps 4 and 5, Boake and Ron Tomlinson passed Kwok for P3 and P4. Up front, Di Benedetto was chasing Baker, but his pace faded from lap 6 due to a fuel pump issue, and he retired in lap 10. This promoted Boake and Tomlinson to second and third, while Tom Kwok passed his brother Gary for P4. Boake tried to close in on Baker, the gap remained around three seconds until lap 18, but with ten minutes left, Boake was on the tail of Baker’s car. Baker kept his rival at bay for a while, but in lap 25 Boake moved into the lead and pulled away to take his fourth win of the season. Baker settled into second, with Tomlinson finishing a distant third.
Race 2 – The front row, based on the second fastest qualifying times, was the same with Baker (1:22.594) and Boake (1:22.780), but at the end of the launching lap Boake returned to the pit with a gearbox issue while Di Benedetto led from Baker and Tomlinson. A car of the TCA class stopped on the track prompting the safety car in, while Baker and Di Benedetto were told to swap positions for the restart. As the TCR leaders tried to pass a GT4 car, Di Benedetto overtook Baker who was now chased by Tomlinson. By the time they all got rid of the GT4 car, they had spaced out, but then Baker closed the gap on Di Benedetto, while Boake had recovered to fourth after his early visit to the pits. In lap 14, Baker retook the lead from Di Benedetto, and Boake overtook Tomlinson for P3 two laps later. Despite their efforts, Di Benedetto and Boake were not able to reduce the gaps and finished in the order behind Baker who scored his third win of the season and secured the title, while Tomlinson was classified fourth.
Race 3 – For the third time in the weekend, Baker was on pole, with Di Benedetto and Boake in P2 and P3. The trio maintained the positions at the start, with Gary Kwok and Tomlinson who tried not to lose contact. Baker managed to build a small gap, while Di Benedetto defended P2, under pressure from Boake and Kwok. In lap 9, Boake tried an overtaking move, but Di Benedetto closed the door, and they made contact. Di Benedetto’s Audi spun off, crashing into the tyre wall and the safety car was deployed, while the driver was rescued and brought to the medical centre. Racing resumed in lap 15, with the top three covered by eight tenths and trying to pass the same GT4 car as in the previous race. Baker rejected an attempt from Boake just before Quinn Attrell’s Hyundai Veloster crashed at T1 causing another safety car phase. During the neutralization, Gary Kwok dropped from P3 to P6, while his brother Tom crashed at Turn 10. The chequered flag was waved under Full Course Yellow two minutes earlier, with Baker victorious from Boake and Tomlinson.
Bowmanville – Race 1
1. Richard Boake (Blanchet Motorsports, Audi RS 3 LMS II), 29 laps
2. Dean Baker (Baker Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS II), 7.469
3. Ron Tomlinson (TWOth Autosport, Audi RS 3 LMS II), 25.714
Bowmanville – Race 2
1. Dean Baker (Baker Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS II), 27 laps
2. Justin Di Benedetto (Di Benedetto Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS II), 1.205
3. Richard Boake (Blanchet Motorsports, Audi RS 3 LMS II), 2.389
Bowmanville – Race 3
1. Dean Baker (Baker Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS II), 21 laps
2. Richard Boake (Blanchet Motorsports, Audi RS 3 LMS II), 1.725
3. Ron Tomlinson (TWOth Autosport, Audi RS 3 LMS II), 2.778
1. D. Baker, 398 pts; 2. R. Boake, 337; 3. J. Di Benedetto, 270
Picture: FEL Motorsports
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