MRTI: Pigot wins and Hargrove retains points lead in GT3 Canada at GP3R

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The Mazda Road to Indy divisions, as well as the Verizon IndyCar Series, were off this past weekend – but several drivers were making the rounds around North America this weekend.

We noted IndyCar drivers Jack Hawksworth and James Hinchcliffe in action at Road America; Gabby Chaves, the Indy Lights points leader, also made a day trip to Road America to support the DeltaWing team, which he’s driven for in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup this year.

In Trois-Rivieres, Pro Mazda title rivals Scott Hargrove and Spencer Pigot continued their battle at the legendary street course in Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin action. It was part of the weekend that also included this accident in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.

Pigot finished fourth in Saturday’s race one (Chris Green won) and won Sunday’s race two; the Sunday win was his second of the year (Toronto).

“I knew I had the pace. I just had to take advantage when I could but not take too many risks and end up in the wall, which is easy to do here,” Pigot said. “Just worked my way past Chris and Scott. It was good battling with them, as always. Really hard racing, but it was all clean today. Happy to get the win.”

Meanwhile Hargrove finished second in both races and retains the series points lead with a final two-race weekend to go at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, August 30-31. Hargrove leads Green by 16 points (152-136); 20 points are on offer for each win, and a maximum 40 possible.

Pigot and Hargrove’s Pro Mazda title battle will be decided in the next two weeks, after one race in Milwaukee this weekend and two in Sonoma the following weekend. There, Pigot currently leads Hargrove by 14 points (259-245). Wins are worth more than 30 points.

The other IMSA Development Series were in action at Road America this weekend. Sloan Urry, Michael Lewis and Angel Benitez Jr. won the three IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA races with Mikhail Goikhberg and Andrew Novich winning in IMSA Cooper Tire Prototype Lites.

We’ll have more on the Pigot/Hargrove title battle later this week on MotorSportsTalk.

Toro Rosso at crossroads after Kvyat’s point, Hartley’s strong debut

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In a weekend with something to prove at Circuit of The Americas, Daniil Kvyat rose to the occasion with what he called “his best race of the season for sure” at the United States Grand Prix.

But it may not be enough for the Russian to have saved his seat at Scuderia Toro Rosso for the three final races this year.

Meanwhile, New Zealander Brendon Hartley capped off his roller-coaster debut weekend in Formula 1 with a solid 13th place finish after starting from the rear of the grid, learning as the race went on and bringing home his Toro Rosso chassis to the flag.

Toro Rosso faces a dilemma of three drivers available but only two seats to fill for the final three Grands Prix, with the Mexican Grand Prix coming up just next week.

Frenchman Pierre Gasly will be back after missing Austin due to his Super Formula commitments at Suzuka in Japan, but ultimately that went for naught as the races were canceled due to a typhoon.

Kvyat qualified 12th, was promoted to 11th by way of grid penalties and ended 10th, scoring a point for only the third race this year and first time since coming ninth in the Spanish Grand Prix back in May.

It was a weekend where he would have been expected to outdo Hartley, and did so, but not by a massive margin. And he was already coming in with a track time disadvantage, losing out in FP1 as Indonesian Formula 2 driver Sean Gelael ran in his chassis.

As it was, he rated his weekend performance highly and didn’t do his chances of staying in the car any harm.

Speaking to NBCSN after the race, Kvyat said, “Yeah, it was a perfect race. I did everything well. Brought the points home. It was close with (Felipe) Massa.

“We had some energy release issues on the engine. But it was a massive weekend. It was great. I really enjoyed myself. It was a good job by the team to keep it together with very limited running.

Hartley built up confidence throughout the weekend as he learned the car, the Pirelli tires and how an F1 race races versus an endurance race that he’d been used to doing for several years.

Having coming into the weekend with no expectations and just taking the race session-by-session, he felt good at the end of it.

“There’s so many little things to reflect on,” he told NBCSN. “I’ll put the eyes at rest and process it all. I did the standing start and it wasn’t the best… it’s been a long time.

“But yeah, (you’re learning) in terms of following in traffic, what 20 laps on these tires means, how much you can push it. I’m pretty satisfied. The pace was pretty strong. I made the mistake of getting passed by (Lance) Stroll. I couldn’t pass him back. Lots of challenges. I hope I can get another shot at it.

“Up until this moment… I didn’t want to know. I just wanted to do the job. I’m really relaxed. Now there might be some conversations.”

Toro Rosso figures to reveal its Mexican Grand Prix driver lineup early this week.