Tri-Point Motorsports Soldiers Through World Challenge Touring Car Series Mosport Weekend September 4, 2005 Showing competitive form through much of the 28-lap SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Series Mosport Grand Prix event, the ...
Tri-Point Motorsports Soldiers Through World Challenge Touring Car Series Mosport Weekend
September 4, 2005
Showing competitive form through much of the 28-lap SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Series Mosport Grand Prix event, the Tri-Point Motorsports squad and team drivers Randy Pobst, Dino Crescentini, and Jeff Altenburg took the checkered flag in their Mazdaspeed MAZDA6 race cars for 5th, 13th and 15th place respective finishing positions. The Mosport Grand Prix marked the 9th round of the 2005 World Challenge Touring Car Series, and with only one race remaining for this season, the chase for the manufacturers title will come down to the wire, setting up a go-for-broke shootout at the final event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the weekend of October 14th-16th.
Practice and Qualifying
The Tri-Point MAZDA6 trio took to the Mosport circuit for first practice of the Labor Day weekend event at 10:15 AM EST on September 2nd. After working on set up changes to gain precious time on the circuit, the cars headed out for qualifying the following morning at 11:00 AM EST. Pobst, Altenburg and Crescentini attacked the high speed and technical 2.5 mile 10-turn race track from the first lap of qualifying, and posted 6th, 7th and 12th place starting positions respectively.
As the red lights went out for the start of the World Challenge Touring Car event on Sunday, there were no incidents, and the 22-car field headed into the very quick and challenging turn 1 at Mosport. Immediately following the start, SPEED World Challenge officials levied stop-and-go penalties on several cars for "false" starts, and the #73 entry of Randy Pobst was among those that headed to pit lane to serve the penalty. Pobst, of Gainesville, Georgia was immediately back out however, and spent the rest of the race deftly slicing his way through the field with the #73 MAZDA6 for a well-earned 5th place at the checkered flag.
Altenburg, as has become his trademark over the past several events, avoided potential issues at the start, and steadily worked his way through the field to run solidly in 4th for much of the event. However, on lap 23, Altenburg, of Ellicott City, Maryland, slowed the #72 Tri-Point MAZDA6 in turn three, and eventually limped his way back to pit lane; the victim of a broken transmission. Jeff's 15th place finishing position was hardly fair reward considering his fine drive.
Crescentini had a solid race going, as he moved his way up to 7th position before handling woes began to take their toll. Despite a good drive, Dino had a quick spin on an oil patch left on the circuit, and was then hit by the #02 Mercedes C230 of Michael Galati. The contact ended Crescentini's day, as he pitted on lap 25 and was classified as 13th in the finishing results.
Jeff Altenburg #72
I probably left a couple tenths on the table during qualifying, and with the way things ended up, I probably could have qualified as high as second, but I was really happy with the race performance. The Stop Tech brakes were very strong, and allowed me to close the gap to other cars under braking. Even though we ended up having that problem with the gearbox, before that point I was in fourth and was right on PD's (Peter Cunningham RealTime Acura TSX) bumper. I felt as though I was going to get by him, but halfway through the race we started to have the gearbox issue, with the car shifting up to fifth all by itself. It especially hurt on the restart. (Following a late race full course caution period) Hats off to Charles (Espenlaub) and Tindol Motorsports for their first win, and for carrying the Mazda flag this race.
Randy Pobst #73
I have to thank the whole Tri-Point crew, especially my car chief Chris for working so hard and doing a great job on my car this weekend. We really were chasing the set up quite a bit, and despite the stop and go penalty, we were able to salvage a good finish from the event. We had some good teamwork on the track as well. When I knew I had to serve the penalty, I let Jeff by, and then later in the race, when I came back up through the field, Dino let me by so I could gain some championship points, and I want to thank him for that.
Dino Crescentini #74
I was gaining strongly on the two BMW's in front of me after moving from 12th to 7th and then came the yellow. I thought that this would be a good opportunity to make a move on the BMW's on the restart, but due to cold tires the car didn't handle too well, and in fact I started moving back. On the second lap after the restart, I spun in the oil in turn 1 that created the full-course yellow in the first place! While I was spinning, Galati slammed into my right front wheel, knocking the car out of alignment enough to the point where it was not race-worthy.
The all important manufacturers championship points race now shows Mazda trailing Acura by a mere 2 points at 72-70. The Tri-Point crew will be hard at work preparing their brilliant blue and white MAZDA6s over the next month for the season ending event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Randy Pobst, who will be working with the Tri-Point crew to help Mazda win the manufacturers title, will also be trying to take the drivers title from defending Touring Car champion RealTime driver Peter Cunningham, who ironically drives an Acura. Randy currently trails Cunnigham by 12 points at 236-224.
The final race of the 2005 SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Series will be held at the fabulous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca outside Monterey, California the weekend of October 14th. Be sure to get all the information on this exciting upcoming event at www.world-challenge.com.