PWC

Road Atlanta: GT round five preview

Pobst leads SCCA Speed GT to Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta TOPEKA, Kan. (June 24, 2003) -- While he hasn't yet found victory circle with his new team and new car this season, Randy Pobst still has plenty about which to be happy, leading the SCCA...

Pobst leads SCCA Speed GT to Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta

TOPEKA, Kan. (June 24, 2003) -- While he hasn't yet found victory circle with his new team and new car this season, Randy Pobst still has plenty about which to be happy, leading the SCCA Speed World Challenge GT Championship to Road Atlanta for Round Five, the series' midpoint, at this weekend's Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta.

After joining Champion Racing in the off season, Pobst relished the challenge of working with a new team and its all-new car, the Audi RS 6. While the learning curve of driving an all-wheel-drive twin-turbo V8 may be steep, Pobst isn't letting it show, finishing on the podium in all four races thus far, and starting from the front row each time.

"I'm looking forward to racing at my 'local' track," said Pobst, who now resides in nearby Gainesville, Ga. "I'll actually be going home each night and so believe I'll be in the best possible physical and mental state possible. It's great to be leading the Championship and having made further improvements to the Audi in recent tests, I'm optimistic of scoring a fifth-straight podium finish."

While Pobst sits atop the point standings, with 113 points for his consistent efforts, the hottest driver has to be Bill Auberlen, who is second, with 110, after sweeping the Lime Rock Park doubleheader in his BMW Team PTG BMW M3 at the end of May. Auberlen's Round Three win (the first half of the doubleheader), was one of the most impressive performances in SCCA Speed World Challenge history, as he came from last on the grid (25th) to win without the help of multiple caution periods or inclement weather. It was the second time Auberlen won a World Challenge event after starting last. He did it in the rain at Lime Rock Park in the 2001 Speed Touring Car event as well.

Auberlen's strong Lime Rock Park weekend stopped the freight train Phil McClure had going, winning the first two events in his Aggregate Industries/3R Racing Chevrolet Corvette ZO6. McClure sits third in points, with 108, and could please event sponsor Chevrolet with a strong finish.

While Pobst may be enjoying his season, teammate, two-time defending SCCA Speed GT Drivers' Champion Michael Galati has had an utterly miserable season. With a best finish of 10th to his credit this year due to a host of reasons, Galati looked to get his season back on track at Road Atlanta, but a testing crash last week has forced the team to bring out its venerable Audi S4 Competition that carried Galati to glory the past two seasons. Maybe the familiarity of the old car will be enough to get him back on track.

Auberlen's stablemates at BMW Team PTG have gained a little momentum since the start of the season as well, with both Hans Stuck and Boris Said recording podium finishes at Lime Rock Park. Said missed the back end of the doubleheader at Lime Rock owing to a qualifying incident close to the start of the race, but hopes to carry his recent success in NASCAR Winston Cup competition, which saw him earn the pole position and finish sixth at Sears Point this past weekend, to the top of the World Challenge podium. The newest member of the team, Justin Marks, had an impressive Lime Rock race two, finishing fourth.

Other drivers vying for top finishes this weekend include Canadian Rob Fellows (Roush Mustang), who is fifth in points, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars of Michael Culver and Mike Fitzgerald, the Corvettes of David Farmer and top Rookie of the Year candidate Jim Ratthman Jr. and John Young (Saleen SR), who had rebuilt his car following his Round Three crash at Lime Rock.

The first four races have sparked SCCA Pro Racing to make some competition adjustments coming into the weekend as well in order to attempt to maintain parity throughout the field. The Corvette ZO6/C5 has received a 100lb. increase in weight for any car utilizing gear ratios that are not stock. Additionally, the Saleen SR 351 has been mandated to run a 12 percent (75mm) air restrictor.

This year's Manufacturers' Championship Presented by Racer Magazine has heated up as well, with BMW holding a narrow, two point advantage over Chevrolet and Audi, 22 to 20.

Following Champion Racing's protest of the rear tires run on Round Four race winner Bill Auberlen's and third place finisher Hans Stuck's cars, which ended up in a denied appeal and no change in the final race results, SCCA Pro Racing issued a bulletin clarifying the tire procedures and sizes. Of note, cars may run only the specified tire sizes on the front and rear of their cars, a clarification of the previous wording which used the word "maximum."

For all the event information of this weekend's SCCA Speed World Challenge GT Round Five race, including stories, notes, quotes, results and live timing and scoring, please visit www.world-challenge.com. For more information about the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta, please visit www.roadatlanta.com.

-scca pro racing-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series PWC
Drivers Boris Said , Bill Auberlen , Randy Pobst , John Young , Michael Galati , Justin Marks , David Farmer , Phil McClure , Michael Culver