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Puerto Rico: GT race report

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Oct. 26, 2003) -- Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., captured his second win in as many races, taking a flag-to-flag to win in the SCCA Speed World Challenge GT Round Ten season finale, part of the Puerto Rico Grand Prix in...

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Oct. 26, 2003) -- Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., captured his second win in as many races, taking a flag-to-flag to win in the SCCA Speed World Challenge GT Round Ten season finale, part of the Puerto Rico Grand Prix in San Juan. By virtue of the win, Pobst also clinched the SCCA Speed World Challenge Drivers' Championship and the Manufacturers' Championship Presented by Racer Magazine for Audi.

Pobst's teammate Michael Galati, of Olmsted, Ohio, finished second and Phil McClure, of Floris, Iowa, finished third.

Starting from the pole position, Pobst piloted his No. 2 Champion Audi Racing Audi RS 6 to an early lead and never looked back. Pobst's margin of victory was 1.324-seconds at an average speed of 76.061 mph on the 1.6-mile, 10-turn circuit at Isla Grande Airport.

Heading into the race, Pobst said he had three goals. First, he wanted to win the Manufacturers' Championship for Audi. Second, he wanted to win the Drivers' Championship. And, third, he wanted to win the race. With teammate Galati in his review mirror the entire race, Pobst was able to concentrate and drive a good, clean race. And, in the process he was able to clinch both Championships and bring home a win.

"Having Michael [Galati] behind me was a great comfort," Pobst said. "We had a plan and there were things we wanted to accomplish. Our first goal was to win the Manufacturers' Championship. That was our highest priority. And, there was a huge question mark over that when this race started.

"I drove hard at the beginning of the race to build a lead. And, when I saw I could run faster than the other cars I started getting conservative. The primary goal for me was a finish at that point. It looked very likely that I could stay ahead of the BMW's or, if not me, Michael could."

At the beginning of the race, Galati, who started third on the grid, jumped in behind Pobst heading into turn one and stayed there for the remainder of the race. Galati narrowed the gap to less than a second a couple of times, but could not overtake Pobst and drove his No. 1 Champion Audi Racing RS 6 to a solid second place performance.

"I had a very good start," Galati said. "The whole idea was to try to stick with him [Pobst] and go. We tried to conserve the car because we knew it was going to be a long race. And, to be able to clinch the Manufacturers' Championship and the Drivers' Championship in the last race is great and Champion Racing deserved that.

Galati finished the season with three podium finishes and five top-10 finishes.

Starting on the outside of row one, McClure, who was in contention for the SCCA Speed GT Drivers' Championship prior to his crash at Road America in June, piloted his brand new No. 73 Coors Original/Aggregate Industries/3R Racing Chevrolet Corvette Z06 to a third place finish.

"We knew that we had a real good car this weekend," McClure said of his run. "We thought that maybe these guys [Pobst and Galati] would not have lasted as long as they did. We were running a pretty blistering pace. I was surprised at the times we were turning throughout the race. I was glad to get back after the season started on a real high note. And, if it wasn't for one mistake at Road America, I would have been in the fight here at the end."

McClure had two wins, three podium finishes and eight top-10 finishes this season.

Teammates Hans Stuck, of Austria, and Bill Auberlen, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Auberlen dominated practice for the event, but his pace trailed off in qualifying and the race, thus ending his title hopes.

Keith Videtto, of San Ramon, Calif., won the Sunoco Hard Charger of the Race award for advancing six positions throughout the race. Tim Wiens, of Westminster, Colo., won the Remus Power Move of the Race award for falling back early in the race and coming back to finish seventh.

Thomas Oates, of Chester Springs, Pa., won the SCCA Speed World Challenge GT Rookie of the Year award. Oates finished the season with three top-10 finishes.

Pobst won the SCCA Speed GT Drivers' Championship with 255 points, followed by Auberlen (231 points), McClure (213), Stuck (194) and Mike Fitzgerald (186).

Audi clinched the SCCA Speed World Challenge GT Manufacturers' Championship Presented by Racer Magazine with 58 points, followed by BMW (53 points), Porsche (37) and Chevrolet (35).

Today's race will initially air at 5:00 p.m. (EST) Saturday, Nov. 15 on Speed Channel.

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Series PWC
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Randy Pobst , Michael Galati , Phil McClure , Tim Wiens , Thomas Oates , Keith Videtto