Nicolai Elghanayan claimed his first overall Pirelli GT4 America Sprint race win in the opening race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Saturday morning after a race-long duel with Spencer Pumpelly.
Polesitter Elghanayan took his Marco Polo Motorsports-entered KTM X-Bow GT4 to a 1.633-second victory over Pumpelly’s TRG Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
The two repeatedly traded positions for most of the 50-minute sprint contest, but the KTM proved better suited to the high-speed corners at CTMP.
Pumpelly settled for runner-up position after leading the early part of the race by way of taking the lead from Elghanayan on the opening lap.
The TRG driver led a total of 25 of 32 laps but lost the lead for good in the final ten minutes.
Elghanayan lost the lead to Pumpelly on the opening lap and then picked up damage from contact with Michael Cooper’s Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren 570S GT4.
Cooper eventually finished third, surviving a tense battle for the final podium position which involved as many as seven cars by the end of the race.
The McLaren factory driver was able to avoid the worst of the contest, which unfolded behind him during the final few laps and included Jarett Andretti, Ian James and the two Robinson Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4.Rs of Shane Lewis and Gar Robinson.
They finished in that order, with Andretti claiming the Am class win from fourth overall ahead of Team Panoz Racing’s James in fifth.
James made a last-corner pass on Robinson, with the pair colliding and Robinson slowing down enough to allow teammate Lewis to make a last-ditch pass as the Robinson Racing pair crossed the line.
Lewis finished just 0.002 seconds ahead of his teammate.
Robinson was later fined for causing the incident, while the stewards took no further action on the first-lap incident between Cooper and Elghanayan.
The race ran behind the safety car for a period when Matt Fassnacht pulled off course.
The Murillo Racing driver explained on the live stream that he drove over a patch of mud which pulled him into the wall on the exit of turn 5.
GT4 America Sprint Race 2 will get underway at 4:30 p.m. local time on Sunday. Pumpelly will start from pole after setting the fastest lap with a 1:24.123.
RESULTS: Race 1