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Lime Rock: GT race two, round five report

Auberlen completes weekend sweep, taking SCCA Speed GT at waterlogged Lime Rock LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 26, 2003) -- Bill Auberlen, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., slipped and splashed his way to victory in Monday's SCCA Speed World Challenge GT ...

Auberlen completes weekend sweep, taking SCCA Speed GT at waterlogged Lime Rock

LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 26, 2003) -- Bill Auberlen, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., slipped and splashed his way to victory in Monday's SCCA Speed World Challenge GT Championship Round Four race, part of the Mohegan Sun Presents the Lime Rock Park Grand Prix weekend, thus completing his sweep of the weekend doubleheader. Following Aublerlen's BMW across the finish line were Randy Pobst, of Gainsville, Ga., and Austrian Hans Stuck.

Auberlen started his No. 7 BMW Team PTG BMW M3 third on the grid, behind the Champion Audi Racing duo of defending series Champion Michael Galati and Randy Pobst. Galati led the field into turn one, but slid into the runoff on the wet track, allowing Pobst and Auberlen through. Pobst maintained his advantage until lap 27, when he slid off course in turn two, allowing Auberlen through.

Auberlen consistently set fast race laps in the closing stages of the 40-lap, 61.2-mile contest and won by 6.241 seconds, averaging 72.193 mph.

"On the restart, all I wanted to do was get Randy angry, which he did," said Auberlen of the lap-24 restart brought out to remove Galati's stranded automobile. "Two laps later, he hits the mud. I don't think I would have been able to get by if he wouldn't have made a little mistake."

Pobst and the Champion Audi team finally got their wish, praying for "liquid sunshine" for years to utilize their quattro all-wheel-drive system in a rain race scenario. It was not to be the result they looked for though, with Galati breaking his suspension in a lap-18 crash in the "uphill," and Pobst settling for second.

"In the rain, things were not as good as I had hoped," said Pobst, who took over the Drivers' Championship point lead with his second-place finish. "I had quite a bit of hydroplaning. I just gave it all I had and tried not to make any mistakes like a few others were making. Then, Billy [Auberlen] was all over me. I was amazed at the grip he had."

Stuck, new to SCCA Speed World Challenge competition, but known worldwide for his savvy in inclement weather, had a consistent run from fifth to third in his BMW Team PTG BMW M3. The result avenged his race in Saturday's first part of the weekend doubleheader, which didn't last much further than turn two of the first lap.

Justin Marks, of Woodside, Calif., wheeled his BMW to fourth, one lap down, followed by Jimmy Adams, of Suffolk, Va., in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.

Pobst leapt over sixth place finisher Phil McClure into the point lead, McClure's Corvette finding the conditions most undesirable. Pobst now leads Auberlen in the points 113 to 110, followed by McClure, with 108, and Stuck and Rob Fellows, with 70 and 69, respectively.

By virtue of their two weekend victories, BMW has taken the SCCA Speed GT Manufacturers' Championship Presented by Racer Magazine point lead, with 24, followed by Chevrolet and Audi, each with 22. Porsche is fourth, with 10.

Race results will remain provisional until a protest filed by Champion Racing is heard and ruled upon.

The SCCA Speed World Challenge next travels to Road Atlanta for Round Five of the GT Championship on June 27-29. For more information, please visit www.world-challenge.com.

-scca pro racing-

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Series PWC
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Randy Pobst , Michael Galati , Justin Marks , Phil McClure