DETROIT, Mich. (Aug. 31, 2008) – Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., collected his 24th career pole today at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix for this afternoon’s SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship Round Eight race. Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla., will start second.
In one of the busiest qualifying sessions of the season, Pobst bounced in and out of the pole position, his nimble Porsche battling with the hometown Cadillacs and Corvettes.
“It’s my car chief Paul Delio’s birthday today and I think fate wasn’t to be denied,” Pobst said.
“I think the K-PAX Porsche is obviously suited to this racetrack. We have a great setup from Will Moody, the mad scientist, for street courses. What changed during that session was the track. We were out real early in the morning and we were basically cleaning the track. It was a real humid morning. There was actually a low fog hanging in the paddock that looked very ominous, like a horror film. Something where you’d expect to see a zombie coming out of the woods.”
Once on top of the timing screens, Pobst brought his No. 1 K-PAX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 into pit lane.
“I came in and parked, I was on pole and everything was beautiful. I was kind of in that mode where hopefully everyone used up their tires and nobody will go any faster. And then Will Moody told me that Eric Curran was on pole. Then I started hoping that the track was changing. It’s unusual in World Challenge to see cars go faster later in the session.
“So I went back out and I know that [Team Manager] Bob Raub was sweating bullets because he hates it when the car goes back out on the track in qualifying. He says that’s always the perfect time for the driver to try too hard and wreck it, which I almost did about three times. But fortunately, its Paul’s birthday and the fates kept stopping the car when it was heading for the wall.
“Somehow in there, we got the pole. I didn’t even know it. The times come up on my dash really late on the pit straight and I’m already in the braking zone and Will Moody is so quiet on the radio, he won’t tell me. He doesn’t like talking. But I knew I was going faster because my shift lights were coming on sooner in some parts.”
Though there was still time remaining in the 30-minute session, no challengers could top Pobt’s lap of 1:30.939 (81.945 mph) around the 14-turn, 2.07-mile course.
“The Cadillacs are on their game. They’re good handling cars with a lot of torque. I think they really wanted this one. I was actually kind of hoping that if it couldn’t be us that it would be Andy [Pilgrim] or Mike [McCann].”
Pobst is feeling good heading into the standing start of this afternoon’s 50-minute race.
“I’m feeling real confident about my launches,” he said. “K-PAX/3R has kind of got that figured out for me. I’m in a nice rhythm. When I see the five-second sign, I say to myself ‘lights go out, go. Lights go on, stay’. That’s from 2005 when I threw away a Touring Car Championship by blowing starts twice. That isn’t happening again. I’m really confident about starts. I’m sure we’ll be in Turn One first.”
America muscle will still make an appearance on the front row courtesy of Pilgrim in the No. 8 Remington Shaving Cadillac CTS-V. Pilgrim found an additional second from his session-leading practice time and entered a 1:31.194 (81.715 mph) to take the second spot on the grid.
His teammate, Michael McCann, of Canton, Ohio, will start third in the No. 16 Remington Shaving Cadillac CTS-V. McCann earned his best qualifying spot of the season with a lap of 1:31.275 (81.643 mph).
Dino Crescentini, of Manhattan Beach, Calif., will start fourth in the No. 4 Centric Parts/Stoptech Porsche 911 GT3. Entering a 1:31.298 (81.622 mph), Crescentini earns his best qualifying position since starting third in the 2005 Denver Grand Prix, driving in the SPEED Touring Car class.
Brandon Davis, of Huntington Beach, Calif., completed the top five with a lap of 1:31.357 (81.570 mph) in the No. 10 ACS/Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang Cobra.
Round Seven winner Eric Curran will start his No. 30 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Corvette sixth after topping the time sheets halfway through the session, followed by the Corvette of Brian Kubinski.
Michal Galati (Porsche 911 GT3), Joey Scarallo (Pontiac GTO) and James Sofronas (Porsche 911 GT3) completed the top 10.
Round Eight of the SCCA SPEED GT Championship will launch from a standing start at 12:45 p.m. (EDT) this afternoon. Live timing and notes will be available at www.world-challenge.com and the race will air on SPEED, Sept. 12, at noon (EDT).
DETROIT, Mich. - Starting lineup for Sunday's SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship Round Eight race, part of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, with position, car number in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, fastest lap time, and speed in miles per hour.
1, (1), Randy Pobst, Gainesville, Ga., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:30.939, 81.945.
2, (8), Andy Pilgrim, Boca Raton, Fla., Cadillac CTS-V, 1:31.194, 81.715.
3, (16), Michael McCann, Canton, Ohio, Cadillac CTS-V, 1:31.275, 81.643.
4, (4), Dino Crescentini, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:31.298, 81.622.
5, (10), Brandon Davis, Huntington Beach, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 1:31.357, 81.570.
6, (30), Eric Curran, East Hampton, Mass., Chevrolet Corvette, 1:31.550, 81.398.
7, (12), Brian Kubinski, Shorewood, Ill., Chevrolet Corvette, 1:31.872, 81.112.
8, (23), Michael Galati, Olmsted, Ohio, Porsche 911 GT3, 1:32.066, 80.942.
9, (06), Joey Scarallo, Smithtown, N.Y., Pontiac GTO, 1:32.228, 80.799.
10, (14), James Sofronas, Newport Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:32.418, 80.633.
11, (5), Jason Daskalos, Albuquerque, N.M., Dodge Viper, 1:32.604, 80.471.
12, (13), Brian Simo, Carlsbad, Calif., Dodge Viper, 1:33.641, 79.580.
13, (2), Cindi Lux, Aloha, Ore., Dodge Viper, 1:33.771, 79.470.
14, (34), Tony Gaples, Libertyville, Ill., Chevrolet Corvette, 1:34.535, 78.828.
15, (99), Jeff Courtney, Slinger, Wis., Dodge Viper, 1:34.673, 78.713.
16, (11), Mike Davis, Huntington Beach, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 1:34.748, 78.650.
17, (31), Sonny Whelen, Old Saybrook, Conn., Chevrolet Corvette, 1:34.964, 78.471.
18, (29), Eric Olberz, La Canada, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:35.007, 78.436.
19, (89), Fred Roberts(R), Mississauga, Ontario, Dodge Viper, 1:35.762, 77.818.
20, (24), Sean Allen(R), Manhattan Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:36.321, 77.366.