Posted (06/22/2008) -
For Immediate Release:
Lexington, OH - APR Motorsport rode the roller coaster that is racing this weekend at Mid-Ohio Raceway during the rain soaked EMCO Gears Classic.
The weekend was a strange one for APR Motorsport, having started with a fast practice, followed by development reliability issues. The team saw a top five qualification spot, the fastest lap of the race, a run from the back of a 47 car grid to 8th spot (in a mere 45 minutes) and ultimately finished with both cars retiring due to contact, amidst running in the top ten.
Mark White ran fast in all practices and qualified the #181 APR Motorsport/Team Janica Racing VW GTi in the 5th spot on the grid. Mark was then fastest in the morning practice on race day, and things were looking great for the APR Motorsport team. Mark started well and remained in 6th position through most of the race, dueling with Peter Cunningham, Charles Espenlaub and others, in a stint in the car that lasted just over an hour.
Just before he was to hand the car over to Randy Pobst, a two-car collision at the exit of turn 14 resulted in contact and damage to the left front of the GTi. Mark reported some power loss, possibly due to the damage, when he handed the car over to Pobst in the 6th place. Randy was able to run a mere three laps in a heavy downpour before the engine stopped making power and he was forced to retire.
Pobst said about the race, "Man, we were in such a great position. Mark did an awesome job of setting up and qualifying the car, I wanted so badly to reward him and the crew with a podium." (Pobst had missed Thursday and Friday practices while doing a magazine test for Motor Trend in California). White added, "I really thought we had it this time. It seems like déjà vu. We were running third at Mosport, when we were called in with 20 minutes to go due to a loose bumper from Randy getting hit on the restart. We came into Mid-O with a lot of confidence and all signs pointing to a podium. We had it all, fast practices, good qualifying position and a great place in the race, when it all came crashing down. Sadly, the incident in front of me did damage to our car that likely prevented us from finishing. I really look forward to Watkins Glen, where my teammate has won four of his last four races and we feel our car should be really strong."
Car #171, piloted by Dion von Moltke and Ian Baas, had a tough time all weekend. A parts failure caused the car to suffer in the first practice and miss the next two practices, as well as qualifying. The failure to turn a complete lap in qualifying forced them to start from the last position on the grid in 47th place. Von Moltke, who started the race, earned the distinction of setting the fastest lap of all cars in the race in the middle of his stint. During his blistering run, von Moltke passed 39 cars en route to an eighth place handover to Ian Baas near the mid race mark.
Baas took over the car and was quickly called back in for rain tires, as the team was keeping a keen eye on the radar. On the rain tires, Baas was running the third fastest laps of all cars on circuit, nearly identical to the winning Subaru.
Sadly, a mere 15 minutes after taking over the car, while passing on the inside of turn 5, Baas was struck by a lap down Meyer Motorsport RX-8 and rookie Samual Stuard. The contact with Stuard caused a bent tie-rod, thus taking Baas's car out of the race.
Von Moltke said about the weekend and race, "Wow, that was a tough one to endure. Just as things would get better, we'd continually get knocked back down. I am pretty happy with my drive, as this was the first time I've had the fastest lap time in a KONI race. Additionally, it was actually a blast to run from the back, picking off a few cars per lap. It was busy, but fun! The car just came into its' own early in the race and I really felt that we had true podium potential when I handed the car over to Ian. It's just too bad he got hit