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Road America: GT qualifying notes

Record Setting Run Helps Pobst Capture SPEED GT Pole At Road America All Audi front row ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 21, 2004) -- Defending SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT Champion Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., and teammate Michael Galati, of ...

Record Setting Run Helps Pobst Capture SPEED GT Pole At Road America
All Audi front row

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 21, 2004) -- Defending SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT Champion Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., and teammate Michael Galati, of Olmsted, Ohio, ran the two quickest times, respectively, in SPEED GT qualifying this morning at Road America, in preparation for this afternoon's SPEED GT Round Eight race. Italian Max Angelelli qualified third on the grid.

Under sunny, cool conditions, Pobst captured the pole in record setting fashion, turning a fast lap of 2:14.551 (108.306 mph) in his No. 1 Audi Certified Pre-Owned/Champion Audi RS 6. Pobst set his fast time early in the session. In fact, only five drivers recorded a qualifying time before the first of two red flags came out. The first red flag was to retrieve Tommy Archer's No. 22 3-R Racing Dodge Viper from the turn 14 gravel and the second was to move Leighton Reese's No. 6 Banner Engineering Dodge Viper Competition Coupe off the track after it caught fire as a result of body work rubbing against the exhaust system. As a result of the two red flags, the SPEED GT field only had 13 minutes of qualifying time in the 20-minute session. But, more importantly, at least seven minutes were spent on warm-up/pit out laps.

Pobst attributes his fast time to the cool temperatures and significant changes to car's setup prior to qualifying.

"We have some amazingly cool weather here and that really benefits the turbos in our Audi RS 6," Pobst said. "I have to complement Champion Racing and my crew chief James Boody. We've been struggling this weekend and just haven't been able to get a handle on the car. We made a bunch of changes. Wow, did it ever work.

"I know [I made up] a lot of the time came under braking. We made some big improvements in our braking and this is a braking track. Also, I finally did The Kink right. I had [gained] four mph on the best Kink I've ever done and the Kink is such an important corner here at Road America. It is the fastest corner on the track and it leads onto a straightaway. I just held my breath and went for it. I am very pleased with the result. I am looking forward to the race."

Pobst hopes he holds the key to go from the pole to the top of the podium.

"The key is to find the right pace to lead without wearing the car out," Pobst added. "We often qualify well in these Audi RS 6s. We drive these cars so hard that we just beat them to death and you cannot race them that way. We cannot race at that speed. The challenge is to find the speed to make it to the finish line first."

Pobst broke the old qualifying record of 2:18.433 (105.263), which was set last year by Bill Auberlen in a BMW M3, by nearly four seconds. Pobst is looking for his second-career World Challenge win at Road America. His first came in 1992 in Class C.

Piloting the No. 2 Audi Certified Pre-Owned/Champion Audi RS 6, Galati will start on the outside of row one thanks to the fast qualifying lap of 2:14.795 (108.110 mph) around the 14-turn, 4.048-mile circuit. Galati has two-career wins at Road America. The first coming in 1996 when he drove a Honda Prelude and the second was in 2002 in an Audi S4 Competition.

Angelelli will start third in his No. 16 Cadillac/Mobil 1/Motorola/Bose Cadillac CTS-V as the result of his quick lap of 2:15.949 (107.193 mph).

Phil McClure, of Floris, Iowa, who will start fourth, hopes to record a better finish this year than he did last year at Road America. With one lap remaining in last year's race, McClure, who was running fourth at the time, slid wide in turn eight, spinning his Corvette back across the track and into oncoming traffic. The end result was a five-car accident that also included brothers Mike and Jim McCann, Hans Stuck and Bob Woodhouse and found McClure going to the hospital with a concussion.

Angelelli's teammate Andy Pilgrim, of Delray Beach, Fla., will start fifth.

The SPEED GT Round Eight race will make its standing start at 4:10 p.m. (CDT) this afternoon and will initially air at 1 p.m., (CDT) Sunday, Aug. 29 on SPEED Channel.

For Live Timing Presented by Cadillac, visit www.world-challenge.com.

-scca pro racing-

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Series PWC
Drivers Andy Pilgrim , Bill Auberlen , Tommy Archer , Randy Pobst , Leighton Reese , Michael Galati , Max Angelelli , Phil McClure , Bob Woodhouse , Jim McCann
Teams HART