Two exceptional races kick off the Nissan Micra Cup in Canada

Mont-Tremblant, Quebec – 05.24.2015 – The Nissan Micra Cup officially got under way this past weekend with two spectacular races on the Circuit Mont-Tremblant. Both rounds were claimed by the young driver from Thailand, Thanaroj Thanasitnitike, after two fierce battles that brought trackside spectators to their feet.

Qualifying in pole position for Saturday’s race, the young Quebecker Olivier Bédard initially led for the first few turns before getting passed by the two Nissan GT Academy Team drivers. Thanaroj Thanasitnitike, of Thailand, followed by his teammate from India, Abhinay Bikkani, took over the front, later to be joined by Marc-André Bergeron. For Bikkhani and Bergeron, any hope of becoming the very first Nissan Micra Cup winner was dashed mid-way through the race when they both crashed off course. Their Nissan Micras were not damaged and both quickly returned to racing, but by then Thanasitnitike, followed closely by Jean-Michel Isabelle and Friday’s practice session lap record holder Stefan Rzadzinski, became the new drivers battling it out for victory.

By the end of an exciting 30 minutes of racing, during which positions frequently changed, Thanasitnitike won by one second over Isabelle, with Rzadzinski only another three-tenths of a second behind. Olivier Bédard was successful in defending this fourth place spot, ahead of Valérie Chiasson. The Top 10 was rounded out by Abhinay Bikkani, Carl Nadeau, Valérie Limoges, top novice driver Metod Topolnik and Marc-Antoine Demers. All drivers that took to the start crossed the finish line with only a ten-second gap covering the first nine drivers; great signs of an exceptional course on all accounts.

Sunday, Thanasitnitike quickly claimed the lead with Olivier Bédard hot on his tail, both drivers exchanging the top-ranked spot multiple times.  With only just enough fuel to finish the race, Bédard had to ease up during the last lap but managed to conserve a second place finish ahead of Albertan Stefan Rzadzinski, who once again completed the podium.

Carl Nadeau and novice Metod Topolnik had an intense battle for fourth place, with only six-tenths of a second separating them as they crossed the finish line.  Olivier Pelletier, Gabriel Gélinas, Valérie Chiasson (who executed a spectacular comeback after having to drive onto the grass during the first lap to avoid hitting a spun car), Valérie Limoges and Paul Dargis completed the top 10.

A touching moment of solidarity crowned the inaugural series event.  During the second race’s podium, the winner and Nissan GT Academy driver decided to offer his two Nissan Canada cheques of $1,500 worth of parts to new driver Mario Berthiaume, who was unable to start the race after seriously damaging his car in a practice session accident.  Series organizer Jacques Deshaies, along with Didier Marsaud of Nissan Canada and Frank Bagouet of Total Canada each presented $1,500, bringing the total to $7,500. This thoughtful gesture exemplifies the spirit of family that is omnipresent in the Nissan Micra Cup, which will hopefully allow Mario Berthiaume to soon rejoin the pack.

Thanasitnitike leads the drivers’ championship with 80 points, ahead of Bédard (68), Rzadzinski (64), Jean-Michel Isabelle, and Pierre Clavet and Carl Nadeau (46). Metod Topolnik leads the novice championship.

This first weekend of the Nissan Micra Cup held up to all of its promises.  There was never a lack of action, a good omen for the next outing in two weeks during the Grand Prix du Canada, on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montréal.

2015 Nissan Micra® Cup Schedule

May 22-24 Classique de printemps, Circuit Mont-Tremblant
June 5, 6, 7 Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada
July 25-26 Classique d’été, Circuit Mont-Tremblant
July 31 – August 2 Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières
August 15 Circuit St-Eustache
September 25-27 Classique d’automne, Circuit Mont-Tremblant

Nissan Micra Cup ready for its debut in Canada

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Canada – 05.15.2015 – A first in Canadian motorsports takes place in one week when the Nissan Micra Cup kicks off its inaugural season. Canada’s most affordable racing series, the Nissan Micra Cup, will commence on Friday, May 22, at the legendary Circuit Mont-Tremblant, as part of the annual Spring Classic, and heralding in a new era of one-make racing.

What was still but a dream six months ago became a reality for promoter JD Promotion & Competition and Nissan Canada. This series, considered the most affordable in Canadian motorsport, is already an apparent success with more than twenty-five drivers expected to contest the first race this Saturday and Sunday.

“The Nissan Micra, this subcompact, fun-to-drive car, is extremely well-suited to the track, as proven through over 35 hours of extensive testing, in addition to the long hours each of the 25 Micra Cup race cars spent in weekend-long testing sessions this month with their respective drivers,” says Jacques Deshaies, owner of JD Promotion & Competition. “Seeing the idea to offer Canadians an affordable, exciting racing series come to fruition brings me immense joy. I am thankful to Nissan Canada for helping me realize this dream, and with a car that has truly risen to the challenge – the stock Nissan Micra S.”

Drivers from a plethora of different backgrounds and experiences will be on the track: from Marc-André Bergeron – well-known to the Canadian sports fans for his fruitful hockey career, will be driving for Nissan Trois-Rivières; as well as two female drivers, Valérie Chiasson and Valérie Limoges. After shining last year in the Canadian Touring Car Championship and in prototypes, Valérie Chiasson has set her sights high for her Groupe Nissan Gabriel Micra. Valérie Limoges returns to the competitive fold with the H. Grégoire Team Nissan Micra.

The Nissan Micra Cup will also have two global track stars on the grid, coming from the Nissan GT Academy. Abhinay Bikkani from India and Thanaroj Thanasitnitiket from Thailand, will kick off their Canadian motorsport debuts this weekend at Circuit Mont-Tremblant.

In total, no less that nine rookie drivers are expected at Circuit Mont-Tremblant next weekend, including three drivers representing Groupe Albi Le Géant: Olivier Pelletier, Claude Leclerc and Marc-Antoine Demers, who, albeit a novice road racer, has displayed his talent in NASCAR competitions these past few years. The six other novice drivers are Frédéric Bernier, Mario Berthiaume, Yves Aubé, Chris Sahakian, Metod Topolnik and Canadian karting champion Francis Mondou. Also entered is veteran Quebecker Jacques Bélanger, a multi-time past champion in different categories and someone who is very familiar with all of the tracks being used for this first season of the Nissan Micra Cup.

“The Nissan Micra Cup race cars are ready, the competitors have been anxiously waiting months to race, and their excitement is contagious! Everyone at Nissan Canada and motorsport fans across Quebec will be on the edge of their seats when the Nissan Micra Cup commences next weekend,” says Christian Meunier, president of Nissan Canada Inc. “For some drivers, victory and the title are clearly their goals. For others, it’s the idea of being able to practice motorsports in the best possible conditions, and Nissan is delighted to help offer that through the Nissan Micra Cup.”

Next Friday May 22, the drivers will be in action for the two half-hour free practice sessions. On Saturday, May 23, qualifying is scheduled as of 9:30 a.m., followed by the first of the two races at 1:30 p.m. The second round will be contested on Sunday at 1:40 p.m. The Nissan Micra Cup races will all be 30 minutes in duration.

For more information on the Nissan Micra Cup and its drivers, visit www.nissan.ca/micracup.

Nissan Micra Cup 2015 Season Schedule:
May 22-24 Classique de printemps, Circuit Mont-Tremblant
June 5, 6, 7 Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada
July 25-26 Classique d’été, Circuit Mont-Tremblant
July 31-August 2 Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières
August 15 Circuit St-Eustache
September 25-27 Classique d’automne, Circuit Mont-Tremblant

 

About the Nissan Micra Cup
Sanctioned by Auto Sport Québec (ASQ) and presented by JD Promotion & Compétition with the support of Nissan Canada, the Nissan Micra Cup exclusively features the stock Micra 1.6 S M/T model with minor modifications, including NISMO suspension – to render it race-ready.

Unlike most motorsport events, each competing Nissan Micra race vehicle will have the exact same specifications, resulting in a competition that truly reveals the most skilled drivers. The Nissan Micra Cup race vehicles remain equipped with the Nissan Micra’s stock 1.6-litre DOHC 4-cylinder engine with dual fuel injection and Twin CVTC (Continuously Variable Timing Control) and stock 5-speed manual transmission. More than 25 Nissan Micras will compete on each race weekend which will include two hours of track time consisting of: a 30-minute trial, a 30-minute qualifying session and two 30-minute races.

Young karting drivers, the average Canadian looking for an entry point into motorsport competition, or anyone who wants to experience the rush of adrenaline inherent with racing cars are all well-suited to this series. In summary, the Nissan Micra Cup is for people who are passionate about motorsports, want to experience all the fun and thrills of racing, but without spending staggering amounts of money.

About the Nissan Micra
In 2014, the Nissan Micra returned to Canada after 23 years as an all-new model, offering Canadians unbeatable value with the lowest starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) in Canada at $9,998. One item that sets the 2015 Micra apart is its agility. Micra is easy to drive and park, thanks to excellent all-round visibility and turning radius, electric power steering and a power to weight ratio that surprises. Powering the front-wheel drive Micra is a DOHC 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine rated at 109 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 107 lb-ft. of torque @ 4,400 rpm.