WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 10, 2007) – Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., benefited from his competition falling by the wayside and scored his and Porsche’s first SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship race win of 2007 at Watkins Glen International, part of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen weekend. Lawson Aschenbach, of West Palm Beach, Fla., and Lou Gigliotti, of Dallas, completed the top three.
On the standing start, polesitter Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla., moved prior to the start in his No. 8 XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/Bose Cadillac CTS-V, and had to report to pit lane for a stop and go, which dropped him outside of the top 20.
Second-starting Eric Curran moved to the lead in his No. 30 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Corvette, and looked to be primed to end the bad luck streak from the last two races, in which he had two DNFs after starting the season with two wins.
A three-lap caution period to remove the disabled car of Dane Moxlow ended with a lap-six restart, which saw Pobst make a bold move in his No. 22 K-PAX Racing/Jim Haughey Porsche 911 GT3 to the inside of Aschenbach’s No. 1 XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/Bose Cadillac CTS-V going into turn one. Aschenbach slid wide on the exit and re-entered the track into the side of Pobst’s car. The two continued and Aschenbach made a stunning recovery as he ran through oil dry in his first time through the Esses.
From there, Pobst gave chase to Curran, and began to dog him within a lap, setting up what could have developed into a battle for the lead. However, Curran could not shake his bad luck and the Corvette began to misfire, allowing Pobst by on lap 11.
Pobst set the race’s fast lap of 1:55.167 (106.280 mph) en route to a 1.397-second win, averaging 90.631 mph.
It was Pobst’s second win on the weekend after Saturday’s win in the SPEED Touring Car series. He became the fourth driver to win a race in both series on the same weekend, with it last occurring in 2003 at Infineon Raceway by Bill Auberlen. An hour later, Pobst went on to win his third race on the weekend, taking the second SPEED Touring Car race and becoming the first driver to win three series races on the same weekend.
“The start went well and I got some help from Eric Curran breaking down,” Pobst said. “On the restart, I was on the inside in turn one and I knew that outside guy [Aschenbach] was going to have to deal with the oil dry that was on the track from the car that blew up. And, he whacked me a good one. But, it was a real pleasure to pull off two wins this weekend.”
Defending series Champion Aschenbach recorded his third second-place finish of the season.
“He [Pobst] was just playing with me all day,” Aschenbach said of trying to chase down Pobst. “I knew that once he got by me, he would be tough to catch. I tried to put some pressure on him for a little while, but then he started to pull away. We just didn’t have anything for him today. But, the Cadillac was great today. I’ve had three seconds this year. I need a win bad.”
Gigliotti, the only other driver in the field to have previous SCCA SPEED World Challenge wins at Watkins Glen, ran a steady race in his No. 28 LG Pro Long Tube Headers Chevrolet Corvette to capture his third podium finish on the season, holding off a charging Pilgrim in the closing laps.
“I don’t know where he [Andy Pilgrim] came from,” Gigliotti said about having to protect his podium finish. “When I saw him, I could not believe it because I knew he went in for a black flag. I could not believe that he made it all the way back. But we still had a great race. I am glad we finished third.”
Pilgrim, who fell to 22nd after serving his stop-and-go penalty, benefited from the caution period, but put on a great show to battle back to finish fourth. Michael Galati moved from his ninth starting position to finish fifth in his No. 23 K-PAX/Jim Haughey Porsche 911 GT3.
Tommy Archer (Dodge Viper), Sonny Whelen, Brian Kubinski, Tony Gaples (Chevrolet Corvette) and Tim McKenzie (Porsche 911 GT3) completed the top 10.
Aschenbach earned the B&M Oil Coolers Coolest Move of the Race for his save in the oil dry on lap six.
Whelen (No. 31 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Corvette) was presented the Toyo Tires Cup.
Kubinski (No. 12 Diamond Construction/Blackdog Racing Chevrolet Corvette) earned the Piloti Rookie of the Race.
Pilgrim maintained his lead in the SCCA SPEED GT Drivers’ Championship standings, with 143 points to Pobst’s 138. Aschenbach is third, with 135, followed by Galati, with 116 and Archer, with 115.
Cadillac took the point lead from Chevrolet with its second place and pole position in the SCCA SPEED GT Manufacturers’ Championship Presented by RACER Magazine, 33 to 31. Porsche is now third, with 24, followed by Dodge, with 16.
Today’s race will be broadcast June 30 at 4 p.m. on SPEED Channel.
The series next travels to the Grand Prix of Toronto, July 8. For additional series information, please visit www.world-challenge.com.