Angelelli Holds off Liddell For SCCA SPEED GT Victory at Road Atlanta Cadillac Ties Audi in Manufacturers' Standings BRASELTON, Ga. (Sept. 24, 2004) -- Max Angelelli got the best of dssboth worlds Friday in Round Nine of the SCCA Pro Racing...
Angelelli Holds off Liddell For SCCA SPEED GT Victory at Road Atlanta
Cadillac Ties Audi in Manufacturers' Standings
BRASELTON, Ga. (Sept. 24, 2004) -- Max Angelelli got the best of dssboth worlds Friday in Round Nine of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED GT Championship.
Not only did Angelelli, of Monte Carlo, Monaco, get his long awaited second victory of the season in his No. 16 Cadillac/Mobil 1/Motorola/Bose Cadillac CTS-V, but his victory vaulted Cadillac into a first-place tie with Audi in the SPEED GT Manufacturers' Championship Presented by Racer Magazine.
Angelelli's victory, coupled with Audi's inability to crack the top six and earn points, erased a nine-point Cadillac deficit and created a 48-48 deadlock between the two manufacturers heading into the final race of the Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Oct. 15-17.
Angelelli narrowly defeated second place Robin Liddell, of Edinburgh, Scotland, by 0.243 second, at an average speed of 89.848 mph on Road Atlanta's 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course. His flag-to-flag victory represented the first time he had led a SPEED GT race since his season-opening victory at Sebring.
"I knew where he [Liddell] was slow and where he was fast," Angelelli said discussing his strategy on how he stayed in front of Liddell at the end of the race. "In the places where he was fast, I was concentrating and very focused not to lose too much. In the places where I was better, I was pushing like crazy. Now, were back in the Championship and for us that is everything."
Though he led all 29 laps from the pole position, Angelelli had to work hard for the victory. Liddell, driving the No. 66 AXA Porsche 911 Cup, kept constant pressure on Angelelli over the final 10 laps of the race.
"The best chance I had to get him [Angelelli] was after the safety car came out," Liddell said of his chances to pass Angelelli for the lead. "Phil McClure kindly let me pass because I think he knew he didn't have the speed to run with Max. The car was very constant and the tires stayed together very well. I was very impressed. But, I had a little too much understeer in the car. I was stronger than Max coming out of 10b over the hill. But, coming out of the last turn I had a bunch of understeer, so I couldn't stay on the back of him coming down the front straight. He was stronger in some places. I was stronger in some places. But, overall it was quite a good race. I kept him fairly honest."
Following Liddell were Lou Gigliotti of Dallas, in the No. 28 LG Pro Long Tube Header Chevrolet Corvette, Phil McClure, of Floris, Iowa, in the No. 73 Aggregate Industries/3R-Racing Corvette Z06, who set the fastest race lap at 1:29.374 (102.311 mph), and Tommy Archer, of Duluth, Minn., in the No. 22 c3controls/Whelen Engineering/3R-Racing Dodge Viper Competition Coupe.
The top five finish also helped Archer close in on point leader Michael Galati, who ended up 12th in the No. 2 Audi Certified Pre-Owned Audi RS 6. Archer now trails Galati by only four points (219-215) heading into Laguna Seca.
Angelelli got off to a fast start, building a one second-plus lead over McClure within the first few laps and maintaining that advantage through the first third of the race.
By then, Liddell, who started fifth, was the one exerting the pressure on McClure. Liddell finally got by McClure in turn 10 on lap 13 and then set his sights on Angelelli. Two laps later, a yellow flag helped Liddell narrow the gap, when Peter Tonelli put his No. 88 Westboro Dodge Viper Competition Coupe into the wall out of turn 12.
Once the race returned to green on lap 20, Liddell stayed close to Angelelli. From that point on, Angelelli's lead never grew larger than 0.468 seconds, but it never shrank below 0.366 seconds until the finish.
Behind the leaders, McClure and Gigliotti were battling for third place. On lap 28, Gigliotti made the move that put him on the podium, getting by McClure for third in turn 10.
"Phil and I went side-by-side in [turns] 10a and 10b and we came out clean," Gigliotti said of his pass on McClure late in the race. "I've got to thank Phil for that. It was great racing.
"My crew great did a great job. We would've loved to have won. I think we had the car to win, but I messed up qualifying."
It wasn't the only nice move that Gigliotti made in the race. He also picked up the Remus Power Move of the Race when he passed both Leighton Reese and Johnny O'Connell.
Rookie Kenny Hawkins won the Sunoco Hard Charger of the race award, improving six spots on his way to a 19th-place finish.
Today's race will air at 1:00 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Sept. 26 on SPEED Channel.
Round Ten of the SCCA SPEED GT Championship heads to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Oct. 15-17, as part of Fry's Electronics Sports Car Championships.
For more information, visit www.world-challenge.com.
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