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.-30-
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.
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