SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Oct. 24, 2003) -- Bill Auberlen, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., is poised to make a run at the SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge GT Championship Sunday, setting the fastest time in both Friday practice sessions for the ...
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Oct. 24, 2003) -- Bill Auberlen, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., is poised to make a run at the SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge GT Championship Sunday, setting the fastest time in both Friday practice sessions for the inaugural Puerto Rico Grand Prix at the Isla Grande Airport temporary circuit in San Juan. Championship nemesis Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., was second quickest, followed by teammate Michael Galati, of Olmsted, Ohio.
Auberlen, who trails Speed GT point leader Pobst by 12 points, hopes he can duplicate Friday's on-track efforts for the remainder of the weekend in his quest for his first Speed GT Drivers' Championship. In the warm and humid conditions in Old San Juan, Auberlen piloted his No. 7 BMW Team PTG BMW M3 to a fast lap time of 1:09.484 (82.896 mph) on the 10-turn, 1.6-mile circuit.
"You need to be very patient here," Auberlen said of his run on the new track. "The reason why we have been running fairly well is because very quickly we addressed a few handling issues in the first session. Four laps in, we addressed those issues and cured them. Then, in the second session we did the same thing. We are just attacking the problems very fast. I think I am slipping and sliding all over the place, but I must be slipping and sliding less than everyone else. The car is running well."
"Hopefully, this track takes a serious toll on the Audis," Auberlen added. "That is what I am hoping for."
Looking to clinch the SCCA Speed GT Championship, Pobst drove the No. 2 Champion Audi Racing Audi RS 6 to the second quickest lap time of the day with a 1:09.832 (82.483 mph). Pobst, who is coming off a win at Road Atlanta last week, can clinch the Championship if he finishes fourth or better in Sunday's race. However, for Audi to surpass BMW in the Manufacturers' Championship Presented by Racer Magazine, they must run up front.
Galati recorded the third fastest time with a 1:10.008 (82.276 mph) in the No. 1 Champion Audi Racing Audi RS 6.
Auberlen's teammates Boris Said, of Carlsbad, Calif., was fourth fastest and Austrian Hans Stuck was fifth.
This is the first time the SCCA Speed World Challenge GT Championships have run in Puerto Rico and all new track records will be established as a result.
SCCA Speed GT qualifying is set for 2:15 p.m. (AST) Saturday, Oct. 25. The season finale Round Ten race will make its standing start at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 26.