Baas to Start 17th in Friday's SPEED World Touring Car Season Opener SEBRING, Fla., March 15 - Hugh Stewart won the Sunoco Hard Charger Award by advancing 17 positions from his starting spot in last year's SPEED World Challenge Touring Car race...
Baas to Start 17th in Friday's SPEED World Touring Car Season Opener
SEBRING, Fla., March 15 - Hugh Stewart won the Sunoco Hard Charger Award by advancing 17 positions from his starting spot in last year's SPEED World Challenge Touring Car race at Sebring International Raceway. If Ian Baas can duplicate Stewart's efforts in the series' season opener tomorrow morning he'll win the race too, as Thursday morning he qualified 17th in the 25-car field for his first SPEED Touring Car event.
An unexpected problem with the brakes on Baas' STaSIS/Clear Capital Audi A4 No. 18 hampered the 20-minute qualifying session for the rising star from Noblesville, Ind. His official qualifying time was 2:23.620 for an average speed of 92.744 miles per hour for the 17-turn, 3.7-mile road course.
Baas' STaSIS Motorsport teammates, Dino Crescentini and Chip Herr, both qualified in the top 10. Besides solving the problem with Baas' cars' brakes, the hard-working crew will compare data from all three cars and make adjustments to the set-up of Baas' car so hopefully he'll be able to head for the front in tomorrow's 17-lap/50-minute race.
"We developed the brake system issue right at the start of the session, so I was working really hard," Baas said after qualifying.
"We'll work on that, and we'll also make some changes to our set-up before tomorrow's race," Baas elaborated. "We expected the track conditions for qualifying to be similar to yesterday's practice because the temperature is the same, so we did little to our set-up before qualifying from what we had yesterday. We'll go over our data and see what we can do for the race, and try our best to get our set-up perfect for tomorrow."
Baas said that being part of an experienced, multi-car team like STaSIS Motorsport will be beneficial, since there is more data to compare from three cars versus just one.
Rubber on the track from different tire compounds also makes it hard for engineers to arrive at an optimal set-up at big events like this one. There are nine different series competing at Sebring, with the headliner being Saturday's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race.
There is a 60 percent chance of showers tomorrow, but Baas isn't concerned about that possibility due to the Audi A4's all-wheel drive.
Tomorrow's race will start at 11:05 a.m. Eastern time.