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Road Atlanta: Ian Baas race report

Baas Gets Taken Out Of SPEED World Challenge TC Race Friday at Road Atlanta BRASELTON, Ga., Oct. 5 - Ian Baas of Noblesville, Ind., saw a possible podium finish disappear Friday at Road Atlanta when his STaSIS Motorsport Audi A4 was hit in both...

Baas Gets Taken Out Of SPEED World Challenge TC Race Friday at Road Atlanta

BRASELTON, Ga., Oct. 5 - Ian Baas of Noblesville, Ind., saw a possible podium finish disappear Friday at Road Atlanta when his STaSIS Motorsport Audi A4 was hit in both the front and the rear on lap 16 of the 25-lap SPEED World Challenge Touring Car race at the Petit Le Mans.

It rained throughout the event. Baas started seventh and blasted off at the standing start even though the driver directly ahead of him, Pierre Kleinubing, had a slow start. Baas also got around the eventual third-place finisher, James Clay, before the field had gone through the esses one time to nab fifth by the end of lap one.

Baas stayed in fifth, running about 1.5 seconds behind Kuno Wittmer, from laps two through lap 11. At that point one of his STaSIS teammates, Adam Pecorari, got by to push him to sixth.

Two laps later a full-course yellow waved when Jim Osborn landed in a gravel trap off Turn 10. Baas had the fifth-fastest lap at that point, although at the end other drivers posted faster laps as the intensity of the rain lessened.

Polesitter and eventual winner Michael Galati regained the lead he'd lost at the initial start on the restart on lap 15. Baas was still in sixth when the driver who'd led until then, Seth Thomas, spun in Turn 10 in the adverse weather conditions. Thomas hit a wall and then crossed the track in front of the rest of the field while out of control, plowing into the third-place car of Peter Cunningham in the process. Baas anticipated the course that Thomas's car was going to take and tried to take evasive action, but unfortunately his Audi got hit in both the rear and the front in the melee.

Baas was able to make it back to the pits, but the damage was too extensive for him to continue. He ended up 16th in the final rundown with his car, which advertises Team Janica Racing, silvertrek.com, STaSIS, Clear Capital, Nally Audi and a charity that Baas helps, the Think First National Injury Foundation.

"I could see the podium when two cars ahead of me went out," Baas said afterwards. "It happened on the entry of Turn 10A. Seth Thomas spun in the braking zone and hit the wall. He ricocheted across the track, which I anticipated so I checked up. He took out Cunningham. Then, right as I hit the apex, a guy hit me in the rear and in the front. I'm not 100 percent sure who it was, but I think it was Pierre Kleinubing. I'm not sure about that though. All I know for sure is that the same guy hit me in both the rear and the front, and there's a lot of damage to my car.

"If Adam and I both would have finished where we should have, Audi would be ahead of Acura in the points," he added. Pecorari ended up second.

Baas had some other challenges during the race too. "My car wasn't very good at the beginning; we had way too much understeer," he said. "As the rain trickled off it got better. We would have had something for them at the end."

-credit: restart communications

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Series PWC
Drivers Pierre Kleinubing , Michael Galati , Peter Cunningham , Jim Osborn , James Clay , Kuno Wittmer , Ian Baas , Seth Thomas