Utah: Series qualifying report

Pobst, Cunningham, Hacquard Score World Challenge Season Finale Poles in Utah TOOELE, Utah (Oct. 3, 2010) -- GT Series Champion elect Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., captured his seventh World Challenge pole position of 2010 and will lead the ...

Utah: Series qualifying report

Pobst, Cunningham, Hacquard Score World Challenge Season Finale Poles in Utah

TOOELE, Utah (Oct. 3, 2010) -- GT Series Champion elect Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., captured his seventh World Challenge pole position of 2010 and will lead the field at the standing start of the season finale at the Toyo Tires Utah Grand Prix Presented by Bondurant. Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wis., captured his record-extending 10th pole of the season in GTS, while newcomer Taylor Hacquard, of Vancouver, B.C., earned a series debut pole position in Touring Car.

Driving the No. 6 K-PAX Racing/Safe + Secure Volvo S60, Pobst went to the top of the charts on his first flying lap, only to be trumped by Kuno Wittmer's No. 13 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Viper a lap later. Not to be outdone, Pobst ran a 1:57.256 (93.580 mph) on his third lap, a time Wittmer would approach on his final try around the 15-turn, 3.048-mile circuit, but fall just 0.149-second short.

"It's the quality of the K-Pax team that has carried us all season," Pobst said. "They can compensate for the changes that happen, we've got a different turbo boost and engine program for this altitude. Our team has depth, like in the ball sports when you've got guys that can come off the bench. We're not just relying on one star to carry the team. That's the way K-Pax Racing is, and that's why we're so consistent and we can win championships.

"I was pleased to get it on my third lap, that's a bit unusual. It was such different conditions today, and that cool air was a great advantage for our intercoolers on the turbos. My car was a flippin' rocket this morning, but I don't think it's going to be the same in the heat of the afternoon."

The seventh pole for Pobst tied the GT class record for most in a season held by Price Cobb (1994) and Terry Borcheller (1998).

Pobst's teammate Andy Pilgrim was third fastest in the No. 8 K-PAX Racing/Safe + Secure Volvo S60 with a time of 1:57.488 (93.395 mph).

Jeff Courtney (No. 99 Kenda Tire Dodge Viper) qualified a season-best fourth with a 1:58.470 (92.621 mph), followed by Tony Gaples (No. 29 Kleinschmidt/Blackdog Racing Chevrolet Corvette, with a 1:58.707 (92.436 mph).

Like Pobst, Cunningham clinched his GTS class Championship a Round early at VIRginia International Raceway on Sept. 12, but extended his career-record number of poles to 42 and his World Challenge single-season record of pole positions to 10. He broke the previous record of eight, which Pierre Kleinubing accomplished in the 1999 Touring Car season.

Cunningham turned a 2:06.834 (86.513 mph) in the No. 43 Acura/RealTime Racing Acura TSX, which was 0.949-second better than second-qualifying Ben Crosland, of Salt Lake City, Utah, who turned a 2:07.783 (85.871 mph) in his PRMotorsports Ford Mustang FR500S.

"Everybody went faster this morning because of the track conditions," Cunningham said. "Our car ran as good as ever and it's really hooked up. This place has a lot of straightaway, but it has some high speed corners and the Acura really likes the high speed corner. We've run a lot of races here, so we're familiar with the nuances of the track. Being such a long lap, it's hard to put a full lap together, but I think we did that this morning.

"If we lose the advantage at the start, it's going to be hard to pass. Our strategy is going to be to do the best we can, lap after lap, and see who is running strong at the finish."

George Winkler, of Frederick, Md., will start third in the No. 27 Winkler Automotive Service Ford Mustang FR500S after turning a fast time of 2:08.415 (85.448 mph), just a tick faster than Nick Esayian's 2:08.545 (85.362 mph) in the No. 34 Acura/RealTime Racing Acura TSX.

Kyle Kelley (No. 79 UPR.com/Jamison Eng Chevrolet Corvette) completed the top five in GTS, with a fastest time of 2:08.733 (85.237 mph).

Appearing in his first-ever World Challenge Touring Car race, Star Mazda and Grand-Am veteran Hacquard turned a fastest lap of 2:12.114 (83.056 mph) in his No. 31 Mazda/Cybernation MAZDASPEED3 to capture the pole position and lead the Touring Car field from the standing start.

"I have some experience with standing starts, I did them in the Star Mazda Series, so we should be good there," Hacquard said. "I wasn't happy with the set-up yesterday, it was really warm and we were dealing with a lot of push. The turbo car doesn't like the heat. Last night we made a big set-up change and made it a lot stiffer in the rear, so that helped. The colder weather this morning really helped with the power, so it was able to all come together and get that lap in.

"Hopefully the temperature will stay down this afternoon, that always helps with power. We only did two or three laps, and that should save the tires. The biggest thing for me is to save the tires and conserve, conserve, conserve. Hopefully we'll be there at the end."

Jeff Mosing, of Austin, Texas, will line up second Sunday afternoon after turning a 2:12.173 (93.018 mph) in his No. 08 Frank's International Mazda RX-8--just 0.059-second off Hacquard.

Eric Meyer, of Indianapolis, was third quickest in the No. 32 XOWii/Samaritan's Feet/Delvira Mazda RX-8, turning a 2:12.914 (82.556 mph), just 0.031-second ahead of defending series Champion Pierre Kleinubing, making his first appearance of the season in the No. 1 Mazda/Cybernation MAZDASPEED3. Kleinubing's best time was a 2:12.945 (82.536 mph).

Robb Holland (No. 22 3ZERO3 Mtspts/TrackPro/Emich VW Volkswagen GTI) will start fifth, after turning a best time of 2:13.618 (82.121 mph).

Today's World Challenge Round 12, the season finale, will make its standing start at 2:55 p.m. (Mountain) Sunday. The Toyo Tires Utah Grand Prix Presented by Bondurant will be broadcast along with the Rounds from VIR, Saturday, Oct. 30 at 3 p.m. (Eastern) on Versus.

-source: scca pro racing

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