First overall victory for a woman and an Ontarian driver in the Nissan Micra Cup. Olivier Bédard and Kevin King continue to battle for the Championship title.
This weekend, the Nissan Micra Cup presented its penultimate event of the 2018 season at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), northeast of Toronto. Taking place over the course of two days in various weather conditions, race nine and ten of the series had several notable moments including Saturday’s historic win for Valérie Limoges, the only female driver in the Nissan Micra Cup, and Ontarian Jake Exton’s win on Sunday for the 50th race of the series.
This fiercely contested outing at CTMP’s NASCAR weekend was the last of the Nissan Micra Cup Ontario season, and saw the race’s top six drivers separated by only six-tenths of a second at the end of the qualifying session on Saturday morning. At the beginning of the race on Saturday afternoon, the weather took an unexpected turn when sunny skies gave way to torrential downpour. Adding to the intensity was championship leader Olivier Bédard losing four positions shortly after qualifying in pole position, benefitting Kevin King, Valérie Limoges, Normand Boyer and Jake Exton in Saturday’s races.
Mid-way through the race, 65-year-old veteran Normand Boyer took the lead and demonstrated his experience driving on the track in challenging weather conditions. By the end of the 40-minute race, Boyer was crowned the victor ahead of King and Bédard. Crossing the line in fourth place was Valérie Limoges, prior to advancing to first place a few hours later, when officials determined that the top three drivers had cut the course during the race. Boyer, King and Bédard were each penalized by one position, giving the top spot to Limoges. Sylvain Ouellet, Novice winner Fadi Mourad, American Mike Ogren, Éric Chaput, Austin Riley and returning veteran Peter Cohen rounded out the top 10.
The sunshine returned for the start of the 50th race of the Micra Cup series on Sunday. This milestone was highlighted by 2017 Novice champion Jake Exton earning his first series pole position. During the race, Exton held the lead until the mid-way point before being passed by Bédard, who started in eighth. However, the Englishman who now resides in Lakefield, Ontario was relentless and regained top spot just in time to claim his first Micra Cup victory, and first win for an Ontario driver in the series. Valérie Limoges finished in third, ahead of Kevin King (subsequently relegated seventh following a penalty), Senior Class winner Normand Boyer, top Novice champion Fadi Mourad, Sylvain Ouellet, Mike Ogren, Éric Chaput and Peter Dyck.
Another notable occurrence was the coexistence of two extremely different worlds, within the confines of this weekend’s spectacular races. The Nissan LEAF security pace car made its Ontario track debut at this weekend’s Micra Cup races, witnessed by thousands of spectators gathered for the American NASCAR Truck series. This sparked significant curiosity, as fans were able to compare the technology of Nissan’s comparatively silent all-electric vehicle with monstrous NASCAR vehicles with deafening V8 engines.
In the drivers’ championship, Olivier Bédard remains in the lead ahead of Kevin King. Only these two drivers will have a chance to claim the title by the end of the final round this season, which takes place at the Circuit Mont-Tremblant on September 22nd and 23rd. Normand Boyer in the Senior Class and Fadi Mourad in the Novice Class have increased their lead in their respective categories, and head into the final events as title favourites.
Don’t miss series news on the Nissan Micra Cup Facebook page, as well as live information and results on Twitter at @micracup. All official videos will be available on the Micra Cup TV YouTube channel.