It was a record-setting morning of qualifying for the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Championships at the Infineon Grand Prix in Sonoma, CA. Randy Pobst in the No. 73 Mazdaspeed/Tri-Point Motorsports Mazda6 ran a track-record lap of 1:46.315 (85.670 mph) to take the pole in the SCCA SPEED Touring Car Championship. Over in SCCA SPEED GT Championship, Lou Gigliotti cut a similarly record-breaking lap of 1:39.581 (91.463 mph) in the No. 28 LG Pro Long Tube Header Chevrolet Corvette C6.
Speculation around the track was that Bill Auberlen in the No. 1 Turner Motorsports/H&R Springs BMW325i was be a lock for the Touring Championship pole. "Is this an upset? Absolutely," said Pobst. "I think the Tri-Point team got a little help today with Billy Auberlen getting a little blockage on his first lap, because there's nothing like a fresh set of Toyos - that's when you get the time."
The pole at Sonoma was the second in as many events for Gigliotti, who garnered the top spot in the SPEED GT race at Lime Rock Park. "Now we just have to carry it through. No bad luck, no parts from other cars," Gigliotti said. "The car is good. We've always been good here, so we've just got to put together a good, solid race. If we can get a good start and lead, I think we can control the race."
AutomotiveArticles.com will have more updates from Sonoma and the Infineon Grand Prix as results come in.
POBST PULLS UPSET, TAKES INFINEON AIR FORCE RESERVE SPEED TOURING CAR POLE
SONOMA, Calif. (July 16, 2005) – The buzz around the SCCA SPEED Touring Car paddock was that Bill Auberlen was a lock for the pole for this weekend’s Round Seven race at the Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma Presented by Ravenswood, but Randy Pobst had other plans, and pulled the upset for his third Air Force Reserve Pole Position of the season. Auberlen was just 0.013-second behind, and will line up second in Sunday’s race.
Driving the No. 73 Mazdaspeed/Tri-Point Motorsports Mazda 6, Pobst cut a record-breaking lap of 1:46.315 (85.670 mph) on his first flying attempt to jump to the top of the charts. Auberlen, who had topped Friday’s practice by more than one second in his No. 1 Turner Motorsport/H&R Springs BMW 325i, appeared to be balked slightly on his first flying lap, and needed to wait until his next lap to put in a pole attempt, with the Rolling Hills Estates, Calif. driver falling just short with a 1:46.328 (85.659 mph).
“Is this an upset? Absolutely,” Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., said. “I think the Tri-Point team got a little help today with Billy Auberlen getting a little blockage on his first lap, because there’s nothing like a fresh set of Toyos [tires]—that’s when you get the time.
“My Mazda 6 was super. I set it up for the new tires. We’ll have a different setup for the race. I was behind an Acura coming out of the last corner and I got a teeny bit of a draft approaching the start/finish line. I think that little bit of a slipstream is what gave me that hundredth of a second to stay ahead of Billy. I have to pay him back for getting me by a couple hundredths at Lime Rock.
“I’m thrilled with the performance of the Tri-Point team and my Mazda this morning. It’s just thrilling to be on the pole. I love it!”
Pobst’s Tri-Point teammate Dino Crescentini, of Malibu, Calif., will start a career-best fourth in his Mazdaspeed/Centric Parts/Tri-Point Mazda, with BimmerWorld Racing teammates James Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., and Matt Richmond, of Mooresville, N.C., completing the top five in their BMW 325i machines.
Sunday’s SCCA SPEED Touring Car Round Seven race is set to make its standing start at 2:50 p.m. (PDT), with the race being broadcast on SPEED Channel beginning at 3 p.m. (PDT), 6 p.m. Eastern.
For full event information, including live timing and scoring for all sessions, please visit www.world-challenge.com.
Gigliotti Leads All-Corvette Front Row in SCCA SPEED GT Qualifying at Infineon
SONOMA, Calif. (July 16, 2005) – Driving the No. 28 LG Pro Long Tube Header Chevrolet Corvette C6, Lou Gigliotti, of Dallas, Texas, set a new qualifying record with a time of 1:39.581 (91.463 mph) and earned his second-consecutive SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT pole position Saturday morning for this afternoon’s race at the Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma Presented by Ravenswood Winery, Round Seven of the 2005 SPEED GT Championship.
SPEED GT practice leader Leighton Reese, of Minnetonka, Minn., completed the all-Corvette front row by qualifying second in the No. 6 Banner Engineering Chevrolet Corvette C6, 0.4-sec. off Gigliotti’s pace. Wolf Henzler, of Nurtingen, Germany, was third in the No. 55 Applied Materials/Farnbacher Loles Porsche 911 Cup.
The pole was the second in as many events for Gigliotti, who also took the top spot into last round’s SPEED GT race at Lime Rock Park. He wound up seventh in that race after an oil-induced spin, and said that if he could avoid another instance like that, he liked his chances in Saturday’s race.
“Now we just have to carry it through. No bad luck, no parts from other cars,” Gigliotti said. “The car is good. We’ve always been good here, so we’ve just got to put together a good, solid race. If we can get a good start and lead, I think we can control the race.
“This track is really hard to pass on except at turns seven and eleven. But, we’re good coming out of six, which takes care of seven, and we’re good out of ten, which takes care of eleven.”
James Sofronas, of Newport Beach, Calif., qualified fourth in the No. 14 Greek Brothers Rcg/GMG/Tecmark Porsche 911 Cup, and Tony Gaples, of Libertyville, Ill., completed the top five in the No. 34 Kleinschmidt Inc./Blackdog Racing Corvette C6.
The 25-lap race is scheduled to begin at 1:05 p.m. Saturday afternoon and will be broadcast Sunday, July 17, on SPEED Channel at 10:30 a.m. All times are Pacific.
To follow Saturday’s race via live timing and scoring, or for other information, visit www.world-challenge.com.