Tri-Point MAZDA6s Finish Second and Third in World Challenge Touring Car at Infineon Raceway Tri-Point Motorsports drivers Randy Pobst and Dino Crescentini drove their sleek blue and white MAZDA6s to second and third place finishes respectively...
Tri-Point MAZDA6s Finish Second and Third in World Challenge Touring Car at Infineon Raceway
Tri-Point Motorsports drivers Randy Pobst and Dino Crescentini drove their sleek blue and white MAZDA6s to second and third place finishes respectively in Sunday's SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car race held as part of the Sonoma Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway. After a well driven event, Tri-Point's Jeff Altenburg succumbed to a mechanical failure and finished 27th.
Pole Position for Pobst
The weekend race action started well for the Tri-Point squad as Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Georgia earned the World Challenge Touring Car Air Force Reserve Pole Position for the third time this year, with a lap of 1:46.315 around the 12-turn 2.53-mile challenging natural terrain circuit. Randy's near perfect qualifying lap, which clearly showed him getting the most out of his MAZDA6, allowed him to just barely steal the lead starting spot away from BMW driver Bill Auberlen by a mere 0.013seconds.
Dino Crescentini of Malibu, California hustled his #74 MAZDA6 to a season high 3rd place starting position with a lap of 1:47.013, and Jeff Altenburg of Ellicott City, Maryland, slotted the #72 MAZDA6 entry 10th on the grid with a lap of 1:47.793.
Fighting for the Podium
After a standard reconnaissance lap, Pobst led the 27-car field to their grid positions for yet another of the spectacular SCCA World Challenge standing starts. At the green Pobst and Auberlen raced up the Infineon raceway turn 1 hill with Pobst relinquishing the lead but hounding Auberlen's every move. Pobst maintained his 2nd place position for the remainder of the event, and finished well clear of the rest of the field.
Crescentini, who dropped one position at the start, made a clean re-pass of the BMW of James Clay several laps into the event. The #74 MAZDA6 then steadily pulled away from the field, and Crescentini earned his first podium finish in World Challenge competition.
Altenburg, who had a clean start, appeared to be having the drive of the weekend. He methodically and skillfully maneuvered his #72 MAZDA6 through traffic, and at lap 14 of the 23 lap event had already moved up to 7th place overall. Altenburg's weekend would end there however, as a low fuel pressure warning light came on, and Jeff wisely pulled the car off course. A 27th place finishing position hardly reflected Altenburg's impressive drive through the field.
Craig Nagler - Tri-Point Motorsports Team Principal
We worked hard on these cars through testing and practice, and I think that with the changes that we made to the cars, we were able to keep up with the track as it changed. With two cars in the top three it was a good day for us and for Mazda.
Jeff Altenburg - #72
We struggled a bit in qualifying, but we made a change between then and the race that made the car come alive. The car was very good in terms of handling, and it let me use the Stop Tech brakes to their full potential, which let me get underneath guys during the race. It's a shame about the mechanical, but I'm very happy for the team with the podium finishes, and I'm looking forward to Portland.
Randy Pobst - #73
This ended up being a good track for us, and Dino and I weren't carrying that much rewards weight. We made some real progress with the handling of the car, and even though the track and the tires got hot, we were able to stay very consistent with lap times. The set up also gave me a lot of comfort with the brake pedal and I was able to use it effectively to get the most out of the tire. Having two MAZDA6s finish this well will definitely help in the manufacturers points race.
Dino Crescentini - #74
It is just a terrific feeling finishing on the podium. The Tri-Point crew has been great, and both Randy and Jeff have been very helpful throughout the season; it has been a real team effort. The car handled well throughout qualifying and the race, and I'm really happy to be able to score a good finish. Can't wait for Portland.
As part of their ongoing effort to produce some of the best prepared race cars in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car paddock, Tri-Point Motorsports recognizes the invaluable support of its sponsors, and wishes to thank the following: Mazda, Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development, Racing Hart, Stop Tech, Recaro, Crocotile, Quarter Master, Ron Davis Racing, Hawk, Koni NA, Pro Parts USA, and Race Sign Specialists.
Tri-Point Motorsports will have their three MAZDA6s on track again in two weeks as they travel up the west coast for the Grand Prix of Portland to be held the weekend of July 29-31. For more information on the Portland event, or to learn more about the results of Sunday's Infineon race, be sure to log onto www.world-challenge.com. Keep up to date with the Tri-Point squad and the awesome MAZDA6 at www.tripointengineering.com.