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Road Atlanta: GT qualifying report

Pobst'S quest for fourth-straight Speed GT win on track, captures Woody'S Ice Pole at Road Atlanta. BRASELTON, Ga. (October 10, 2002)-- Randy Pobst, of nearby Gainesville, Ga., captured his fourth Woody's Ice Pole Position Thursday, and will...

Pobst'S quest for fourth-straight Speed GT win on track, captures Woody'S Ice Pole at Road Atlanta.

BRASELTON, Ga. (October 10, 2002)-- Randy Pobst, of nearby Gainesville, Ga., captured his fourth Woody's Ice Pole Position Thursday, and will lead the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship to the green light Friday afternoon, part of the Audi Presents Petit Le Mans Week at Road Atlanta. Rookie Paul Edwards, of Santa Maria, Calif., was second-fastest in only his second appearance in the series. Pobst will go for his record-tying fourth-straight win.

As has been the case in each of his four pole-winning efforts, Pobst was fastest right out of the box, laying down a record 1:32.207 (99.168 mph) on his first flying lap around the 10-turn 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit. His lap in the No. 22 1st Interstate Inn/3R Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup demolished the 2001 record of 1:33.918 set by Peter Cunningham.

"The REWARDS weight is showing itself in the lap times for the first time, but we're pleased to be on the pole," said Pobst."After understeering in the beginning of the week, the Porsche is turning a little too well. Having the Audi alongside is a concern as well. I need to have a perfect start to lead going into one."

While the pole winner was no real surprise, Edwards' effort in second place was the real story of the session. His lap of 1:32.446 (98.911 mph) was good enough for second quick in the No. 3 Champion Racing Audi S4 Competition--more than eight-tenths of a second faster than teammate, defending series Champion and point leader Michael Galati.

"I know how competitive this series is, so I was hoping I could adapt quickly to the different type of car," said Edwards, who leaves Saturday to go to the Red Bull Driver Search competition in France."Prior to Laguna Seca, my only experience in a car with fenders was a 15-lap test in a Corvette at Sebring two years ago.

"I really had to change my technique to suit these cars, and I'm getting more comfortable with each session. At Laguna Seca, I was missing shifts and going into the gravel. Here, I've only dropped a wheel here or there."

Edwards is excited about the potential for rain Friday.

"I love the rain," said Edwards."I've done half of my racing in Europe in the rain, and I've seen Quattros in the old BTCC, similar to these, dominate. [Randy] Pobst has had a very strong car the last few races, but I think if it rains, I could be gone on the first lap."

Phil McClure, of Floris, Iowa, was third in the Aggregate Industries/3R Racing Corvette ZO6 with a 1:32.532. It was McClure's career-best qualifying effort. Cunningham, of W. Bend, Wis., was fourth in his Acura NSX SC. He is attempting to close on Galati, who qualified fifth, in the Drivers' Championship. Galati presently has a 23 point advantage over Cunningham.

Friday's race is set to start at 4:55 p.m. (Eastern).

-scca pro racing-

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Series PWC
Drivers Paul Edwards , Randy Pobst , Michael Galati , Phil McClure , Peter Cunningham