APR Motorsport Charges Through the Pack for 3rd Podium in 4 Races Coming off three top 4 finishes in a row, the APR Motorsport VW DriverGear team would only have but one weekend to prepare for the challenges of...
APR Motorsport Charges Through the Pack for 3rd Podium in 4 Races
Coming off three top 4 finishes in a row, the APR Motorsport VW DriverGear team would only have but one weekend to prepare for the challenges of the technical and tricky Mid Ohio course. The APR Motorsport crew relishes the challenge of the mid season stretch, where the schedules get tighter and the teams with the best preparation rise above the rest. Combine this with the team's dominating performance at Mid Ohio last year where they led flag to flag, and the weekend looked to be very strong for the APR Motorsport team.
On the test day the team immediately showed their speed, putting both cars into the top five straight away, which allowed APR Motorsport to try some new configurations on the cars and begin working on race setups. However, all was not well, as the 181 car of Hurley and Stadtlander began to experience mechanical problems despite its pace. With time running out before qualifying, the APR Motorsport DriverGear crew made a tough choice and moved Hurley and Stadtlander into the #171 GTi, while Halpin and Baas would drive #181. This would allow Stadtlander, and Hurley to maintain their run towards the driver's championship.
With qualifying rapidly approaching, Stadtlander jumped into the #171 for the first time and took to the track. Quickly getting up to speed in a different car and driving for the first time at Mid Ohio in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, Kevin was able to put in an incredible qualifying effort coming in 24th despite having to learn the track during the qualifying session. Halpin and Baas had to miss qualifying while the crew worked to prepare the #181 GTi for the race the following day.
As the crowds filed in and temperatures soared, Stadtlander and Halpin climbed aboard their APR Motorsport VW DriverGear GTi's to start their charges through the field. The green flag fell and both drivers pounced, carving their way up through the pack, setting times close to the leaders. Both drivers had to pace themselves however, as the high ambient temperatures put a lot of wear on the cars. Halpin and Stadtlander knew they had to hand over the cars in optimum condition for the final push to the front and were forced to slow their ascent to the lead of the pack with a lot of racing still left to come.
As the 3rd caution fell over the field, Halpin and Stadtlander brought in their APR Motorsport GTi's for a full service stop. Baas and Hurley climbed aboard their cars and immediately took over what their partners had started. The #171 of Hurley and #181 of Baas quickly began climbing through the field when another caution was waved. This would bring in the #171 of Hurley for just a splash of fuel, while the #181 of Baas would require fuel and some repairs.
As they rejoined the field, Hurley began hunting the leaders and would soon take over the lead. Meanwhile, Baas began another charge from deeper in the field due to his mechanical difficulty prior to the last pit although needing further pit stops to rectify his mechanical issues.
After leading 16 laps, Josh had a clear gap over the cars behind when a competitor in the Grand Sport class spun directly in front of him. With nowhere to go, Josh hit the GS car head on but was able to continue, although falling back to 3rd place and suffering damage to the front end. Despite the bad luck and the effect it had on his concentration, Hurley quickly got back into the pursuit of the leaders.
In the #181 GTi, Baas was still nursing a wounded car and was forced to stop a total of six times during the race. Ian kept making amazing charges up the field, passing many cars, only to have to pit and pass them all over again. After all of these charges Baas and Halpin would wind up in 14th position, a spot not indicative of their pace, but showing how a good team could still salvage a result on a tough weekend.
While Ian was battling through the pack, Josh was charging back towards the front. Josh was able to move up into the 2nd place position and set his sights on the leader. A final caution would slow the field just before the races end, setting up one final charge to the finish. The race went back to green with just 3 laps left and Josh tried to retake the lead. While he was unable to catch the leader, he held off a charging pack of rivals to take home a strong 2nd place, giving Hurley and Stadtlander 4 top 4 finishes in a row and netting the pair their 3rd Hard Charger Award of the season.
"I have to thank APR, as well as Mike Halpin and Ian Baas who started the weekend in the 171 GTi, for the last minute decision to put Josh and I in the 171 due to a mechanical issue with our 181. This was a great call and allowed us to stay alive in the driver points championship. I also want to commend Josh Hurley on his racecraft. I have been racing for many years and have seen lots of drivers come and go. Seven races into this season it has become quite clear that Josh has that special "it" quality. It's a pleasure to have him as a teammate and we are certainly banging loudly on the door of our first win together," comment Stadtlander as he stepped off the podium. Kevin's co driver Josh would also share his thoughts on the event "I'm so proud of the team this weekend, they really worked hard, and our results are showing it! The APR Motorsport VW DriverGear GTi was excellent once again and Kevin did a phenomenal job with very little seat time. We're really close to breaking through, and I plan on doing that in New Jersey next round!" said Hurley.
We also talked to Baas about his charges through the field, "It was like groundhog's day. I kept going by the same people! The crew did a great job in getting the car to the finish, and we definitely had the speed to be up front, but luck just wasn't on our side today. It was great getting back in the GTi and I can't wait for New Jersey," said Baas on his run. Mike Halpin gave us further insight on the weekend "The team really works hard on these cars and it shows. While we didn't get the results in the 181 car that we wanted, the pace was there, and I know that we will be right up front again next round in New Jersey. I can't wait to get there!"
With Hurley and Stadtlander now jut 1 point away from 3rd in drivers points, the team will be pushing very hard before the next round on July 17 at New Jersey Motorsports Park. While there appears to be a break on the schedule you can be sure the APR Motorsport VW DriverGear crew will be hard at work once again as they plan to battle for victory.