Saturday
Jul212007

TEAM NEWS: Pobst and Galati qualify their K-PAX/3R Racing Porsches 3rd and 4th for Mid-Ohio WCGT race

Photo by John Thawley Lexington Ohio (July 21, 2007): Randy Pobst and Michael Galati qualified their matching K-PAX/3R Racing Porsche GT3s into the 3rd and 4th positions for Sunday’s Round 7 of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT Championship Series here at Mid-Ohio International Raceway in Lexington Ohio.

Randy Pobst, of Gainesville Georgia, continued to stay at the lead edge of the tough World Challenge GT competition as he recorded a best lap of 1:26.792 on his 2nd tour of the 2.258 mile Mid-Ohio track which eclipsed the existing qualifying record. Unfortunately Eric Curran shattered the record with a pole winning time of 1:25.624 in his Whelen Corvette.

While Pobst would have liked to qualify better and win the pole as he had last race in Toronto he felt that starting on the second row was good because his K-PAX Porsche was well suited for the race tomorrow.

“I think we have a really good K-PAX/3R Racing Porsche for the race,” said Randy Pobst with a smile. “We are right in it and I can be consistent with the car.

“We made a couple of little changes and went back out and the improved the car a bunch but we are working against under steer in our Porsche here at Mid-Ohio this weekend but then again in a Porsche that’s not all bad because it helps save the back tires.”

“I think we will be good to race when race day comes around tomorrow,” said Pobst with a sly smile. “This K-PAX/3R Racing Porsche is ready to race!”

Randy, who qualified his Mazda 6 for the Touring Car race in the prior session, said that the GT cars were fortunate not to have had to go out first today.

“It was so early the track wasn’t the best when I went out in the touring car but it was better when I went out in the K-PAX Porsche because I cleaned it up some in my Touring Car first it was really slick and dirty,” said Pobst.

Michael Galati, of Olmsted Ohio, was also well under the track record in his #23 K-PAX/3R Racing Porsche with a best lap of 1:26.031 on lap 5. Due to the cool conditions and improved track surface the top 10 qualifiers broke the existing mark set of 1:26.820 by Wolf Henzler in a Porsche in 2005.

“The car was definitely better today,” said Galati who struggled with a big under steer during practice yesterday. “The K-PAX 3R guys worked hard yesterday on the car because yesterday we were quite a bit off the pace. They worked last night and the car was a lot better today.

“I did 4 laps the same as my fastest lap so I think the K-PAX Porsche is going to be a good race car for the race so I feel pretty good about it.”

“Yes but he did too many consistent laps because I don’t like to see them (the drivers) out there so long to save the rear tires for the race,” said Bob Raub with a smile. “But these guys are competitive drivers and it is tough to get them to come in because they really want to do better!”

“K-PAX and Dax (Raub) did a great job this morning so we will see what happens in the race,” Galati said. “The race is long so we are going to keep on plugging and see what happens.”

Series leading Randy Pobst and Michael Galati will try to make it three straights wins as they take on the tough SPEED World Challenge GT competition as Round 7 is set to start here at Mid-Ohio on Sunday July 22nd at 5:05 PM EDT. The race can followed via live timing on www.World-Challenge.com and will be broadcast on Saturday July 28th at 4:00 PM EDT.

Saturday
Jul212007

SCCA NEWS: Altenburg Grabs Third SPEED Touring Car Pole of the Season at Mid-Ohio

Photo by John Thawley LEXINGTON, Ohio (July 21, 2007) – Jeff Altenburg, of Ellicott City, Md., will start Sunday’s SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Presented by Trenton Forging race from the pole position after a record-setting run in Saturday’s qualifying. Chip Herr, of Lititz, Pa., will start second.

Currently running second in the SCCA SPEED Touring Car Drivers’ Championship, Altenburg collected his third pole of 2007. Driving the No. 72 Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development Mazda 6, Altenburg clocked a 1:32.846 (87.551 mph) around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio road course, a new SCCA SPEED Touring Car qualifying lap record.

Unlike most SCCA SPEED Touring Car qualifying sessions, where the fastest laps come early in the session, times tumbled late in the 20-minute session that started at 7:25 a.m. After one flying lap, the session was stopped to retrieve a car from the Turn One gravel, leaving just over 10 minutes in the session.

“It was kind of like F1 qualifying, with a lot of drama at the end,” Altenburg said. “It was pretty cool.

“For me, the problem was Turn One. Before our session, they were sweeping it and there was oil dry. We almost went off on the first lap because we were the first two cars through there. To me, the times dropped because Turn One got better and better.

“I was seventh at the red. Usually, you can let the tires cool down and go out for one more run and get a time reasonably close to the first lap. So, I went out and I did a 33.1 and I was on the pole. I was ready to get out of the car, because that’s usually about it. I’m sitting there and sitting there, and the team said ‘Cunningham just did a 33.0.’ So, with the Acura-Mazda battle, I went back out. They didn’t tell me that while I was out there, I fell back to fifth or maybe even worse.

“On my lap, I got through one better than before. I took a little tighter line than usual. The rest of the lap was really no better than the 33.1, it was all about getting through Turn One better.”

Altenburg was quick to thank his team for working to overcome a recent adjustment by the series on the Mazda 6.

“We’ve done a lot to overcome the adjustment, but the weight bias change is going to hurt toward the end of the race. If I can finish on the podium here this weekend, I’ll be real happy.

“I have to thank Mazdaspeed, TriPoint and our new sponsor ChaseCam. It’s another point for Mazda in the Championship and gets me five points closer to Randy [Pobst] in the Drivers’ Championship.”

Winner at Mid-Ohio in 2006, Herr will start his No. 17 STaSIS/Clear Capital/Fred Baker Audi A4 second on the grid after turning a 1:32.911 (87.490 mph).

The second row is all BimmerWorld with Seth Thomas, of Cumming, Ga., starting third and Joey Hand, of Sacramento, Calif., starting fourth. Thomas turned a 1:33.032 (87.376 mph) in his No. 38 BimmerWorld BMW 325i with Hand in the No. 37 Bimmerworld BMW just 0.006-second slower, with a 1:33.038 (87.370 mph).

James Sofronas, of Newport Beach, Calif., puts a third BMW in the top five with a lap of 1:33.270 (87.153 mph) in his No. 29 Global Motorsports Group BMW 325Ci.

Jason Martinelli (BMW 325i), Ian Baas (Audi A4), Adam Pecorari (Audi A4), Peter Cunningham (Acura TSX) and Randy Pobst (Mazda 6) completed the top ten.

The SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car at Mid-Ohio Presented by Trenton Forging race will launch from a standing start at 8:45 a.m. (EDT) on Sunday. Visit www.world-challenge.com for live timing and lap notes.

The race will be broadcast Saturday, July 28 at 3 p.m. (EDT) on SPEED.

1, (72), Jeff Altenburg, Ellicott City, Md., Mazda 6, 1:32.846, 87.551.

2, (17), Chip Herr, Lititz, Pa., Audi A4, 1:32.911, 87.490.

3, (38), Seth Thomas(T), Cumming, Ga., BMW 325i, 1:33.032, 87.376.

4, (37), Joey Hand, Sacramento, Calif., BMW 325i, 1:33.038, 87.370.

5, (29), James Sofronas(T), Newport Beach, Calif., BMW 325Ci, 1:33.270, 87.153.

6, (8), Jason Martinelli(R), Roxbury, Conn., BMW 325Ci, 1:33.370, 87.060.

7, (18), Ian Baas, Noblesville, Ind., Audi A4, 1:33.373, 87.057.

8, (19), Adam Pecorari, Aspon, Pa., Audi A4, 1:33.485, 86.953.

9, (42), Peter Cunningham, Grafton, Wis., Acura TSX, 1:33.540, 86.901.

10, (73), Randy Pobst, Gainesville, Ga., Mazda 6, 1:33.600, 86.846.

11, (1), Pierre Kleinubing, Coconut Creek, Fla., Acura TSX, 1:33.695, 86.758.

12, (97), Charles Espenlaub, Lutz, Fla., Mazda 6, 1:33.772, 86.686.

13, (44), Kuno Wittmer, Montreal, Quebec, Acura RSX, 1:33.825, 86.637.

14, (74), Roberto Santos(R), Monterrey Mexico, Mazda 6, 1:34.102, 86.382.

15, (64), Andrew Wojteczko(R), Caledon, Ontario, Lexus IS 300, 1:34.121, 86.365.

16, (43), Brandon Davis, Denver, Colo., Acura TSX, 1:34.178, 86.313.

17, (34), Nick Esayian(T), Encinitas, Calif., Acura TSX, 1:34.351, 86.154.

18, (95), Michael Galati, Olmsted, Ohio, Mazda 6, 1:34.354, 86.152.

19, (96), Charlie Putman(T), Denver, Colo., Mazda 6, 1:35.134, 85.445.

20, (65), Stan Wilson(R), Mount Juliet, Tenn., Lexus IS 300, 1:35.875, 84.785.

21, (61), Justin Pritchard(R), Grandville, Ohio, Toyota Celica GTS, 1:38.412, 82.599.

22, (24), Jim Osborn(T), Ooltewah, Tenn., Volkswagen Jetta TDI, 1:38.692, 82.365.

23, (49), Branden Peterson(T), Breckenridge, Colo., Acura TSX, 1:40.504, 80.880.

Friday
Jul202007

GRAND AM NEWS: BRAUN QUICKEST IN DAYTONA PROTOTYPE PRACTICE

Photo by John Thawley The No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley topped the charts in each Daytona Prototype practice session in preparation for Sunday’s Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve race at Barber Motorsports Park.

Eighteen-year-old Colin Braun posted a fast time of 1:22.037 (100.930 mph) in Friday’s afternoon session, while teammate Nic Jönsson doubled up the success of the No. 75 machine posting the fastest time in the morning session. Braun – driving with then-teammate Jorg Bergmeister – captured the win in last year’s Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at the Birmingham track.

“We were out there running through our program of changes we wanted to run through,” Braun said. “The car was really good. We’re really working hard to make sure we’ve got a good race car. I don’t think we have that much for them (No. 99 car). Everybody put new tires on at the end of practice, so lowering our time was not a huge surprise. We at Krohn Racing had a good test here, and the guys are working really hard this weekend, working really well together. I think we just have a good car. Nic had the fast time this morning on new tires, and I got in later.”

Alex Gurney, driving the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stalling Racing Pontiac Riley, led for most of the afternoon session until his fast time was eclipsed by Braun on his session’s last lap. Gurney’s time of 1:22.089 (100.866 mph) was less than a five hundredths of a second behind Braun’s time.

“We’ve been learning the whole time; yesterday, we were really scratching our heads,” said Gurney. “The No. 75 car has been very quick all weekend. We definitely have been improving the GAINSCO car every session, and we improved it quite a bit more in that last session. Jon Fogarty, (team engineer) Kyle Brannan and I really worked to perfect the balance, because this track is very complex and technical. The challenge is to find the best compromise that creates a stable, drivable car.”

The No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley of Max Angelelli ran third fastest, turning a time of 1:22.510 (100.356 mph). Angelelli currently sits second in the points championship behind Scott Pruett and needs a strong finish to close the gap. Angelelli will team this weekend in the No. 10 machine with Memo Gidley.

Two Lexus Rileys followed the Pontiac trio in the top-five of today’s practice sessions, led by the No. 19 Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Z-Line Designs/Mission Residential Pontiac Riley driven by Michael Valiante in a time of 1:22.857 (99.931 mph) in fourth. Valiante and teammate Rob Finlay are coming off of a strong second-place effort last week at Iowa Speedway.

Rounding out the top five in Daytona Prototype practice is the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Lexus Riley driven by Oswaldo Negri. Negri lapped the circuit in 1:22.868 (99.918 mph) and will team this weekend with Mark Patterson.

The Daytona Prototype class will qualify Saturday at 10:25 a.m. CT for Sunday’s Porsche 250 with the green flag waving at 2:00 p.m. CT (Live on SPEED).