Randy Pobst led all the way to win the Pirelli World Challenge Cadillac Sports Car Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, piloting his Volvo S60 to the GT class win. Peter Cunningham captured the GTS win, while Todd Lamb won in Touring Car.
Starting from the pole with his No. 6 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60, Pobst got the holeshot on the standing start, built a 3.5-second lead over teammate Alex Figge by lap three and was never seriously challenged to win at the undulating 11-turn, 2.358-mile circuit for the third time, and first since 2006. It was Pobst's first series win of the 2012 season, the 27th of his career.
Randy Pobst leads the field into Turn Two at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Weber Image)
“This is the combination of so much hard work by the K-PAX Volvo racing team and this track and the Volvo working well together,” Pobst said after the race. “The car's better than ever. We had some trouble keeping it running last year. I think they've got it sorted out, though. We're going to have some good races with these guys for the rest of the year. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is just right for the Volvo with its all-wheel drive, especially coming out of Turn 11. It just rocks off that corner!”
Pobst set a new lap record during the race, with a 1:27.491 (92.087mph).
Figge started third in his No. 9 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60, but launched into second at the start around the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V of Andy Pilgrim. From there, he maintained second for the duration of the 28-lap, 62.664-mile contest, closing twice under caution, but never forcing the issue with his teammate.
“A great day for the team and for Volvo,” Figge said. “Andy Pilgrim was really a gentleman, as he always is, driving clean and his own race. That made it a lot more fun for me as well as we had a little dice on the restart. Other than that, it was just about putting laps in and making sure we had a one-two for the guys.
“The restarts were the only places to maybe try something, but the cars don't run really well in traffic, even behind a similar car. Yesterday, in qualifying, it was Randy's day and he had the pace today. It wasn't going to be some easy move to go by Randy, so I think it was better to run a clean race, take the points and the one-two.”
Pilgrim was happy with his third-place run, and had to hold off a charging Lawson Aschenbach at the finish, who started from the rear of the field in his No. 1 TruSpeed/Privacy Star/EnTrust Porsche 911 GT3 after missing qualifying.
“Manufacturers points is all we care about,” Pilgrim said. “Of course, I was going to try and get to Alex Figge, because I wanted him to be a cushion between us and the Porsche. It just really kept me focused. Lawson raced me fair and really close. The brakes on our car made it for us. He didn't make anything on us on brakes.
“It was a really good run. It was an elastic-band effect with Volvo. They were slow going into the corners and rockets coming out. I had the best shot on restarts, to try and get Alex. He was very clean, we were bumping, but it was clean. He gave me room and I gave him room. But once I got to the end of the corner, they took off. I tried, really, because I wanted to put him between me and Lawson. Having Lawson behind me, holy smoke…I had to just be perfect for those four or five laps at the end. Luckily, we were.”
Steve Ott, who started sixth but moved to fourth on the opening lap, running closely behind Figge and Pilgrim for the first 10 laps, finished fifth in the No. 85 Racing For Our Heros/Loctite Porsche 911 GT3 to equal his career best. Mike Skeen (Chevrolet Corvette), Johnny O'Connell (Cadillac CTS-V), Justin Marks (Porsche 911 GT3), Tomy Drissi (Porsche 911 GT3) and Bret Curtis (Porsche 911 GT3) completed the top 10 in GT.
Cadillac drivers sit one-two in the Championship point standings, with O'Connell on top, with 573, followed by Pilgrim, with 559. Pobst moved to third, with 502, followed by Aschenbach (427) and Sofronas (409), who retired with a mechanical problem on the front straight to bring out the race's first caution on lap 15.
Cadillac also maintained the Manufacturers Championship lead over Porsche 37 to 33, with Volvo closing the gap, with 25, followed by Chevrolet, with eight.