Galati leads flag-to-flag to win Mid-Ohio Speed GT (LEXINGTON, Ohio) June 30, 2002 - Michael Galati, of N. Olmstead, Ohio, led flag-to-flag to win Round Four of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT event today at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car...
Galati leads flag-to-flag to win Mid-Ohio Speed GT
(LEXINGTON, Ohio) June 30, 2002 - Michael Galati, of N. Olmstead, Ohio, led flag-to-flag to win Round Four of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT event today at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Johannes van Overbeek, of Danville, Calif., and Randy Pobst, of Melbourne, Fla., completed the top three.
Starting from the Woody's Ice pole position, Galati's No. 1 Champion Audi S4 Competition got a great jump on the field when the lights went out for the standing start.
"Once again, the Quattro system gave me a fantastic start," said Galati. "I looked behind me and saw the two of them [van Overbeek and Pobst] together and I thought 'great, maybe they're gonna' argue' but, they didn't."
Behind Galati, van Overbeek's No. 81 Flextronics/Shoreline/Brocade Porsche 911 Cup and Pobst's No. 22 1st Interstate/3R/Damon's Porsche 911 Cup were able to reel the leader in and, by lap 10, the three were running nose-to-tail applying pressure on Galati.
"My brakes were getting softer and softer, so I knew I had to get a good launch out of the keyhole," said Galati. "The end of the straight kept coming sooner and sooner for me. I almost didn't make it one time, but I was able to hang on."
Just when it looked like van Overbeek was poised to make a serious attempt for the lead, the caution flag flew on lap 17 to remove the No. 13 Porsche 911 Cup of Greg Merrill, which was buried in the gravel at turn four.
"I was catching Michael [Galati] before the caution and his brakes were fading," said van Overbeek. "That caution came out and really hurt. If it would have been green the whole way, we could have had a shot."
When the green flag came out three laps later, Galati was able to hold off the challenge from van Overbeek and Pobst for the final eight laps, to squeak out a 0.655-second margin of victory, averaging 78.303 mph.
Behind the leaders, a furious battle was raging between Jeff McMillin, of Erie, Pa., Peter Cunningham, of W. Bend, Ind., Justin Marks, of Woodside, Calif., and Derek Bell, of Pagham, England.
Marks, driving the No. 80 Flextronics/Shoreline/Brocade Porsche 911 Cup, was engaged in a serious battle for sixth place with Bell's No. 2 Champion Audi/Legends of Motorsports Audi S4 Competition for the first half of the event.
On the lap 20 restart, McMillin's No. 25 McMillin Motorsports/JJ's Snacks BMW M3, came under heavy fire from a hard-charging Cunningham who managed to take fourth spot entering turn three. The two of them battled for the next three laps, until McMillin was able to muscle his way back by and cruise to a fourth place finish.
Three laps later, Cunningham found his mirrors full of the headlights of Bell's Audi S4 Competition. Entering turn four, Bell made a daring move under Cunningham, with Marks following him through, to drop Cunningham back to seventh spot. The move by Bell was determined the Rogaine "Hair Raising Pass of the Race" by the Speed Channel television crew.
Galati's finish allowed him to regain the points from Cunningham, 113 to 102, heading into Round Five of 10. McMillin is in third, with 99, followed by van Overbeek (90) and Young (78).
Porsche jumped from third to first in the Manufacturers' Championship, with 22 points, followed closely by Audi, with 21, Acura (17), and BMW (16).
The series next travels to Road America July 6-7. Sunday's race will air on the SPEED Channel Saturday, July 13, at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern).
-scca pro racing-