PWC

Watkins Glen: Phoenix Performance race report

Aquilante, Subaru to Podium at Watkins Glen Second straight Winners' Circle appearance for Phoenix Performance team Andrew Aquilante, Chester Springs, Pa., today raced the Phoenix Performance Subaru Impreza WRX to a third place finish in the...

Aquilante, Subaru to Podium at Watkins Glen
Second straight Winners' Circle appearance for Phoenix Performance team

Andrew Aquilante, Chester Springs, Pa., today raced the Phoenix Performance Subaru Impreza WRX to a third place finish in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car series event on the world-famous Watkins Glen International circuit near Watkins Glen, N.Y.

Aquilante, 21, came within a mechanical "burp" of finishing second in the race.

Taking the green flag in fifth place, the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system in Aquilante's Subaru Impreza WRX helped vault him to fourth place, but he wisely chose discretion rather than valor a few turns later, electing to avoid possible contact with the early-chargers.

By the fifth lap, Andrew was able to get out of traffic and begin his chase of the leaders.

Staying focused on the goal, he powered his way into a solid fourth on the eighth lap, out-braking BMW driver James Clay into the "bus stop" turn on the 3.4-mile, 11-turn road course.

Three laps later and now clear of traffic, he set the race's fastest lap, a 96.709mph average, a lap which was even faster than the pole-sitter's qualifying speed.

Andrew and his all-wheel drive Subaru then hunkered down and set off to catch and pass second place runner Charles Espenlaub.

On the last lap, Aquilante passed Espenlaub, but, "The engine bobbled for just a moment, so I dropped back to third to protect it," he said.

His moves, however, earned him the race's Sunoco Hard Charger and Debaufre Fastest Lap of the Race awards.

"That was a heck of a drive," said Joe Aquilante, whose Phoenix Performance team prepares the Subaru Road Racing Team entry. "Starting with that fastest race lap, he really turned it up, and still kept the car under him. The Subaru keeps on developing; every race we learn more ways to improve on what's already a great performance package, and how to work with the Toyo tires we're required to use.

"We have a great crew from Phoenix Performance to give us a good car at each race," Aquilante added, "but a lot of credit for that is the great package from Subaru that we start with, and the help we receive from our many sponsors."

James Han, manager of motorsports marketing for Subaru of America, Inc., added, "I'm not surprised with this result. The team did its homework, and this is an achievement that reflects the effort they've made. With the series as competitive as this, I'm glad to see the Impreza WRX place this well among a field of marketplace competitors.

"The Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and 'boxer' engine technology really came to the fore to help Andrew reach the podium. All-in-all, a really strong effort and good result; it bodes well for the remaining races we plan to contest this year," Han said.

The SPEED TV broadcast of the Watkins Glen race will air July 22 at 2pm ET.

The team had planned to also race a Subaru Legacy 2.5GT spec.B performance sedan at Watkins Glen in the new Touring Car 2 class, but the car was damaged in a practice session crash; its debut was delayed until another weekend.

The next race will be July 24-26 at the Autobahn Country Club near Joliet, Ill.

-credit: pp

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About this article
Series PWC
Drivers Charles Espenlaub , James Clay , Joe Aquilante , Andrew Aquilante