Pobst edges closer to championship lead -- Galati suffers bad luck once more Randy Pobst closed down on Speed GT World Challenge leader Phil McClure when the former claimed his third consecutive third place of the season in the latest race at...
Pobst edges closer to championship lead -- Galati suffers bad luck once more
Randy Pobst closed down on Speed GT World Challenge leader Phil McClure when the former claimed his third consecutive third place of the season in the latest race at Lime Rock Park, Conn., today (Saturday 24 May).
Having finished third at Sebring and Mosport in the opening two events, Pobst started the 42-lap race second in the Driver's Championship, 10-points behind McClure but will begin Monday's Memorial Day race here just five-points in arrears with Audi still second in the Manufacturers' title chase but now only six-points off the lead.
Champion Racing "locked out" the front row for the first time since the Audi Sport North America supported Florida team entered the Speed series in 2000. Pobst started from pole-position - his first for the Champion team and the RS 6 sedan's maiden "pole" - with Galati six-tenth's slower completing the front row after a wet 20-minute qualifying session.
The rain had disappeared come race time and despite a bone dry track surface, the Audi duo rocketed away at the green light, Pobst leading Galati for the opening 12-laps which included four under a full course yellow safety period.
But Mike Fitzgerald's Porsche made contact with Galati's Audi on lap 13, pitching the defending GT champion unceremoniously nose first in to the tire barriers. Michael re-joined in 14th place, with front bodywork damage and ultimately finished 10th - scant reward for a fine drive by Galati who has suffered ill fortune in all three of this year's races.
Pobst continued to head the field until mid-distance when Bill Auberlen (BMW) dived in to the lead and was further demoted by Boris Said (BMW) 11-laps from the checker as the top-five ran in close company. Randy briefly slipped to fourth on lap 31 but re-took McClure on the same lap and managed to keep the Corvette driver at bay to the finish after another sterling performance.
Michael Galati (43). Born: Alcaralifusi, Messina, Sicily. Lives: N. Olmsted, Ohio: Speed World Challenge stats: 72 starts, 16 wins, 37 top-3s, 52 top-5s, 63 top-10s.
"It was a great start and my car was working well in the opening laps but knew it would be tough in the dry. After the Porsche had put me into the wall, it was a case of trying to salvage something. The good thing is that I finished the race. This must be the worst start to a championship I've ever made - I'm going to church tomorrow in the hope I'll have a good race on Monday!"
Randy Pobst (45). Born: Dayton, Ohio. Lives: Gainesville, Georgia:
Speed World Challenge stats: 17 starts, 6 wins, 14 top-3s, 15 top-5s, 15 top-10s.
"I had some great battles - we ran a hard, competitive race but it was just a matter of time holding those guys off after the race went green again. My RS 6 was the best its been - Champion Racing and Audi Sport North America is doing a fantastic job. I feel sorry for Michael, he has had a dark cloud hovering above him so far this season while I'm still riding the wave of beginner's luck [with my new team]."
Rod Bymaster, Audi Sport North America's Motorsport Manager:
"Always good being on the podium -- Randy did a great job as did Michael who ran with no front brake ducting or front splitter after his 'off'. We didn't get the rain we needed but Randy's third place keeps us in the points chase. We'll try again on Monday and I'm already praying for rain."
LIME ROCK SCHEDULE
Monday -- Qualifying Round 4, 0900-0920. Round 4, 1115-1215