Alexandre Fortin and Simon Charbonneau first 2023 winners of the Nissan Sentra CupMay 28th, 2023
Mississauga – It was this weekend, under the sun and in summer temperatures, that the first event of the 2023 Nissan Sentra Cup season took place. Two races presented on the famous Circuit Mont-Tremblant, in the heart of the Laurentian mountains, in Quebec, won by Alexandre Fortin and Simon Charbonneau.
For the first time since the early Sentra years (2021), the series featured both races on the same day, with the schedule revised by Series’ officials after the Saturday morning qualifying session was stopped following the crash of Sean Scully (Micra class). Qualifying, presented on Saturday afternoon, saw Alexandre Fortin take both pole positions, ahead of Nicolas Barrette for race 1 and Simon Charbonneau for race 2.
Sunday morning, the first half of the race 1 was marked by the spectacular battle at the front between three drivers: Fortin, Charbonneau and Barrette. A restart just 5 minutes from the end saw Samuel Rowe, a series regular but starting this season in a Sentra, join the group of contenders for victory. Charbonneau then managed to climb into the lead, passed Fortin who had led until then, but the driver from Quebec regained the first place on the next lap. Alexandre Fortin finally won this first race of the season, ahead of Rowe, Charbonneau, Barrette. Nicolas Barrette then recovered third place following a one-position penalty imposed on Simon Charbonneau.
For fifth place, Daniel Fortin, Alexandre’s father and his teammate with the Ste-Foy Nissan team, resisted pressure from Nicolas Miron and Sylvain Ouellet until the end. Quebec TV and radio host Benoît Gagnon took eighth place for his very first race at the wheel of a Sentra, ahead of 2022 champion Valérie Limoges, and Jean Audet.
In the Micra class, Simon Vincent returned to victory, dominating the entire race. Nicolas Lévesque and the defending champion of this category, Raphaël St-Pierre, completed the Top 3.
As the temperature exceeded 30 degrees Celsius, the second race started like the first, with Fortin, Charbonneau and Barrette in the first three places. But Alexandre Fortin was forced to retire halfway through the race, his muffler having come off, which made him exceed the noise limits authorized at Circuit Mont-Tremblant.
That paved the way for Charbonneau to victory, with Barrette behind and Rowe completing the podium. Daniel Fortin and Vincent Lalande followed. At just 15 years old, Lalande was making his debut in the series and he was impressive throughout the weekend. Nicolas Miron, Christian Thibault (also a rookie this season in the Nissan Sentra Cup), Sylvain Ouellet, Benoît Gagnon and Valérie Limoges completed the Top 10.
For her first event at the wheel of a Sentra, Marie-Soleil Labelle finished eleventh (thirteenth in the first race) while in the Micra class, it’s another perfect race for Simon Vincent, who finished ahead of Nicolas Lévesque and Charles- Etienne Boucher.
In the drivers’ standings, after two disputes competed, Nicolas Barrette is the leader with 92 points, ahead of Samuel Rowe (88), Simon Charbonneau (87), Daniel Fortin (72) and Alexandre Fortin (66).
The second event of the season will take place on July 9 at the Complexe ICAR in Mirabel, as part of the Nissan Grand Prix. An event exclusively dedicated to the Nissan brand, to fans of the brand and the Nissan Sentra Cup. In addition to the two races, the spectators will be able to try out vehicles from the Nissan range, including the all-new 100% electric ARIYA. Actress and Nissan spokesperson for Quebec Karine Vanasse will also be present and the fans will be able to see the LEAF Nismo RC, Nissan’s 100% electric prototype. Finally, track hot laps in Nissan Z and LEAF Nismo RC will be organized for the fans on site.