Road America: K-PAX/3R Racing race report

Pobst finishes K-PAX Volvo in 6th in SPEED GT race at Road America Pilgrim knocked out by broken suspension Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (August 16, 2009): Randy Pobst nursed his ...

Pobst finishes K-PAX Volvo in 6th in SPEED GT race at Road America
Pilgrim knocked out by broken suspension

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (August 16, 2009): Randy Pobst nursed his #1 K-PAX/3R Racing Volvo S60 to a sixth place finish in the World Challenge Road America Grand Prix Presented by StopTech, part of the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase Weekend at Road America. Andy Pilgrim suffered his second straight DNF as a broken toe-link sidelined the #8 K-PAX/3R Racing Volvo S60 on lap 6.

Both Pobst and Pilgrim survived a hectic standing start when the pole sitting Porsche broke an axle on the grid and settled into 6th and 8th positions on the opening lap in Round 8 of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championships.

"Our starts are still not as good as they could be but they are getting better," said Randy Pobst of his start. "I got going and had a very good first lap and held off Daskalos' Viper for a couple of laps but he was just too strong down that straight and he went me, I mean, wow! After that I settled in and about half way through the race it started missing so from then on it was just trying to get to the finish."

Randy Pobst, of Gainesville Georgia, who qualified the #1 K-PAX Volvo S60 in 7th, ran the opening lap in 6th but soon came under fire from Daskalos' Viper with Daskalos who powered past Pobst on the front straight dropping Randy to 7th. Pobst moved back into 6th with the retirement of the #13 Viper of Kuno Wittmer.

"The race was going well, I was in good position and my K-PAX Volvo was handling very well," said Pobst. "My engineer Will Moody had made my K-PAX Volvo better than it was in qualifying.

"Unfortunately I started picking up a miss in the engine that was pretty big. I was in close communication with the K-PAX crew in the pits and I was tuning things off and on and trying different modes but nothing worked completely. My car did get a little better when I turned it off and on and got even better when I turned it off and on again.

"I tried to drive the car the way it wanted to be driven. Earlier in the race it liked revving low but later in the race it liked revving high and I think that actually helped me stave off Mike Borkowski in the Viper because he was really coming. The silver lining of this weekend was that I was able to finish. And that came to be my goal for the race. Just get to the finish line and we made it!"

Pobst had hoped for rain and there was a forecast of possible rain in the Elkhart Lake area of Wisconsin on Sunday but the rains arrived about an hour too late to suit Pobst.

"It is raining not far from here and I am so disappointed because our K-PAX Volvos are all-wheel drive and rain would have helped us a lot," said Randy Pobst. "Road America is one of my favorite tracks but it does not favor our Volvos because we have way better handling and traction but less power."

Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton Florida, who qualified the #8 K-PAX/3R Racing Volvo S60 into the 8th position, held that spot at the start following Pobst and Daskalos for the opening laps until slowly making his way to the pits on lap 6 with a broken suspension.

"Another DNF, what can I say," said Andy Pilgrim who has been racing despite feeling very ill most of the weekend. "It wasn't a great start but I held my position, but Daskalos got an unbelievable start and got by about 5 people. The car was over-steering a lot probably because the transmission was leaking huge amounts of oil, which I didn't know."

As the race progressed through the early laps Pilgrim held onto the 8th position but that wouldn't last as only a veteran move on Andy's part averted a big crash on the 6th lap.

"I sensed that something else was going wrong so I backed out of it," said Pilgrim. "The rear toe-link broke and I was very lucky because it would have broken going into the Kink which is the fastest corner on the track and I would have stuffed it big time!"

"It is a learning year and I was pretty sick this weekend but unfortunately my car ended up being sicker than I was," said Pilgrim summing up his weekend at Road America. "I was fine in the car and was looking forward to a really good race. I was basically going to be following Randy around the whole time. We were running in 6th and 7th but it didn't end up that way."

"Given the situation with the Volvo and the long straight-a-ways at Road America I really don't think we could have finished much better than 5th or 6th, even without the miss," concluded Randy Pobst. "So I think we really dodged a bullet this weekend. I feel really bad for Andy and the crew of the #8 K-PAX Volvo for not being able to make the finish."

"I am looking at this weekend as one of survival and at least we did that," said Jim Haughey of K-PAX Racing.

Randy Pobst's 6th place finish moved him the twice defending GT champion up to 4th in the Drivers' Championship with 644 points as Andy Pilgrim's DNF dropped to 5th with 639. Brandon Davis leads the championship with 824 points.

The 6ht place finish coupled with Chevrolet's 2nd place finish today dropped Volvo to 4th in the Manufacturers' Championship Presented by Racer Magazine with 31 points. Porsche continues to lead with 55 points.

The K-PAX/3R Racing Volvo S60s of Randy Pobst and Andy Pilgrim will next race in Round Nine of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championships at WCGT Race presented by Toyo Tires at Road Atlanta in Braselton Georgia on Friday September 25th 2009.

-credit: k-p/3rr

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Series PWC
Drivers Andy Pilgrim , Randy Pobst , Mike Borkowski , Kuno Wittmer , Brandon Davis