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Sebring: K-PAX/3R Racing qualifying report

K-PAX/3R Racing Porsches to start 2nd and 7th in SPEED GT Season Opener All entries are gridded by best practice times after aborted qualifying session Sebring Florida (Thursday March 13th 2008): Round One of the 2008 SPEED World Challenge...

K-PAX/3R Racing Porsches to start 2nd and 7th in SPEED GT Season Opener

All entries are gridded by best practice times after aborted qualifying session

Sebring Florida (Thursday March 13th 2008): Round One of the 2008 SPEED World Challenge GT Championship Season got off to a rocky start here at Sebring Florida as the qualifying session when Joey Scarallo's Corvette exploded in a monstrous cloud of smoke coating the pit straight with oil and ending the session just as the field had completed their out lap.

The resulting clean up ate up all of the remaining time for the session so the 28 car field will be gridded based on their fastest time recorded in the two practice sessions on Wednesday. This decision gave the pole to Brandon Davis and his ACS Express Ford Mustang Cobra who had done a mock qualifying run during the late afternoon practice session.

Randy Pobst, of Gainesville Georgia, will start the #1 K-PAX/3R Racing Porsche 911 GT3 on the front row in 2nd position while Michael Galati, of Olmstead Ohio, will start 7th in the #23 K-PAX Racing Porsche 911.

"I think that second place is a good starting position and I am happy with that," said Pobst. "It could have been lower if qualifying didn't go real well so it is kind of a wash because I am disappointed about not being able to drive because it is all about driving. Sitting there watching them sweep oil dry for 25 minutes was very frustrating.

"For 2008 I have been really happy here in this K-PAX Porsche. We have Sachs shocks on the car now and my race engineer Will Moody has them really working for Sebring and I have been having a good time in the car and that is a good sign.

"The down side is that we are the slowest cars out there on the straight-a-ways and in qualifying horsepower is pretty important so overall I am going to say that qualifying being essentially cancelled was a good thing for me, because I was second in practice and I don't think that I had a pole car."

"For the racer in me it is disappointing that it took 25 minutes for the track crew to clean up that oil spill and on a straight-a-way no less," said Pobst candidly. "We came here to fight the fight and let it all out on the track in qualifying. Not to fall back on practice times!"

Michael Galati on the other hand was relying on qualifying to move up in the order having fallen back in practice after experimenting with a radical setup.

"In practice we wanted to try two different setups on the car to see which one worked best so we went in two different directions and in the first practice we found out that that was not the way to go so we went back to the essentially the same setup that was on Randy's car and the car started working good," said Galati of his practice day.

"I thought that we were going to have a good car for qualifying and I was looking forward to it but unfortunately the whole session was red flagged so I am starting 7th. But the 3R Racing boys have put a good setup on the car for the race so we should be able to move up as long as I can get through the start ok. It should be a really interesting race especially the start because our Porsches handle really well particularly under braking but we are lacking some straightaway speed."

For the race both Pobst and Galati reserved judgment as to how the race would progress because the World Challenge Series has changed over to the new R-888 Toyo radials and no one is sure how well they will hold up particularly in the hot Florida sun here at Sebring.

"We haven't done a long run on the R-888 Toyo tires as yet so we don't know for sure how well they will hold up for a full race," said Galati of Friday's race. "It is one of those deals where we will have to take care of our tires and see how things work out because it will be very important at the end of the race to have your tires underneath you. It is a whole new game!"

"It is the first race of the season and there are a lot of question marks that are soon going to be answered when it goes green tomorrow," said Pobst. "I think that with my K-PAX Porsche I can run it hard and it will be consistent throughout the race. I think that the new Toyo R-888 might not last as long as the old RA-1 and we have been working on setting up for that so it may work to our advantage in the long run.

"We were restricted this year and to my eyes our Porsches have less power than some of the other cars in the series but I do think that our advantage is going to be over the length of the race. I think that the longer the race goes green the better."

Round one of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship is set for their world famous standing start at 4:40 PM Eastern Time on Friday March 14th. The race can be seen on tape delay on Friday March 21st 2008 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time on SPEED TV.

-credit: kpax/3r

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Series PWC
Drivers Randy Pobst , Michael Galati , Brandon Davis