PORTLAND, OR. (July 25, 2004) - The Certified Audi RS 6 team prevailed through 100 degree temperatures, 24-hour work days, electrical problems and several track incidents to come away with a 2nd place finish for Randy Pobst and a 9th place finish...
PORTLAND, OR. (July 25, 2004) - The Certified Audi RS 6 team prevailed through 100 degree temperatures, 24-hour work days, electrical problems and several track incidents to come away with a 2nd place finish for Randy Pobst and a 9th place finish for Michael Galati at the caution-filled Round Five SPEED World Challenge GT race at Portland International Raceway.
After a two days of more than 100-degree temperatures, track conditions were considerably cooler for the start of Sunday's 50-minute race with air temperatures in the mid-60s.
Although Galati qualified his No. 2 Audi Certified Pre-Owned/Champion Audi RS 6 fourth on the grid, he had to start from the back after the team elected to change cars. After extensive diagnostic testing on Galati's primary car, the team determined the best course of action would be to pull that car from the starting grid and have Galati drive the backup car.
Despite jumping into a new car with very little testing and set-up time, Galati performed a "text-book" Audi quattro start. Galati rocketed his Certified Audi RS 6 from 20th position to 7th, all before Turn 1. "What can I say-thank goodness Audi has quattro," exclaimed Galati. "The car just took off and I was able to pass all those cars. It was just awesome!"
Pobst also had a great start moving up from 3rd to 1st but then the pole sitter, Tommy Archer driving a Dodge Viper, got by Pobst and led going into Turn 1. Archer maintained his lead from start to finish despite the fact that he was frequently challenged by Pobst in his N0.1, 4.2 liter, V8, bi-turbo Audi RS 6. Pobst would close the gap going into the turns, but Archer, whose Dodge Viper has more straight line speed than the Audi, would pull away in the straights.
On lap eight, the No. 16 Cadillac CTS-V, driven by Max Angelelli, was on the move as he made his way from fourth to third. Going into the chicane on lap nine, Angelelli tried to get on the inside of Pobst on Turn 1 by braking late but Angelelli made contact with the back of Pobst's No. 2 Audi Certified Pre-Owned Champion Audi and crashed into the wall. Despite the contact with Angelelli, Pobst was still less than a second behind Archer. Pobst then spent the next 21 laps trying to chase down Archer, but didn't quite have enough.
"I think Tommy Archer and 3R had the right car today," Pobst said of trying to catch Archer. "I think he was taking it easy saving his tires. We had so many yellows, but my Certified Pre-Owned Audi was a fine car, especially considering the REWARDS weight I was hauling. And, I could feel that. The tires were getting really slick later in the race. I had quite a job keeping the next car from catching me. I ran just as hard as I could. I wish the race would have been a little longer, because I think the longer the run, the more quattro becomes an advantage as the track gets slick. We had a really good race today, I must say. I am very pleased with the result."
Pobst's second place finish was his third podium finish of 2004.
Galati, who moved up to 6th position during the Angelleli/Pobst incident, looked poised to finish the race in a possible top 5 position until his Audi RS 6 was involved in a three-car incident with Scotty White and Andy Pilgrim while exiting the chicane. Galati was dropped to 9th and eventually would end his day holding on to that position.
Galati won the Sunoco Hard Charger of the Race Award for advancing 12 positions on lap one.
The SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT Championship next visits Mosport International Raceway Aug. 6-8, as part of the Grand Prix of Mosport.
Michael Galati (Olmstead, OH). "The Audi RS 6 was incredible today. It was just like a rocket on the start. I went from 20th to 6th position all before turn 1. All I can say is thank goodness for quattro! The Champion guys did an unbelievable job this weekend. They've been going three days straight with no sleep trying to fix my car and then once they made the decision to put me in the back up car, they had to prep the back up car. The team really made my result possible today."
Randy Pobst (Gainesville, GA). "It's a very happy finish to one of the toughest weeks that Champion Racing's RS 6 team has ever had. They've been working all day under 120 degree temperatures and then again all last night fixing Michael's car. My Certified Pre-owned Audi was a great race car because it was just so competitive today. My crew guys James Boody and Mark Landis really set up this car just perfectly for me. They really deserve the credit for today's 2nd place win. Another good step towards the Manufacturer's Championship for Audi."