MONTEREY, Calif., (September 22, 2002) -
There were no podium finishes among the three Champion
Audi S4's at Laguna Seca, but in an exciting and event-filled race,
Michael Galati was able to come to the checkers in fourth place, retaining
and strengthening his hold on the SPEED GT Drivers points lead. Randy
Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., out dueled Pole-sitter Peter Cunningham, of W.
Bend, Wis., to take his fourth win of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World
Challenge GT season, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Justin Marks, of
Woodside, Calif., completed the top three.
At the standing start, Galati reprised his stunning launch technique that
year saw him go from 4th to 1st at the Green here; this time going from
to first past Marks and Cunningham before Turn One. Newcomer Paul Edwards,
driving the #3 Champion Audi S4 Competition for the first time in
California, got a
terrific start of his own, going from his sixth starting spot into third,
and Edwards making an Acura sandwich of Cunningham.
Derek Bell, who started eleventh, found himself in a large pack of traffic
the GT field entered Turn Two, and part way 'round Bell was tagged from
by Tim Wiens' Porsche. The hit turned Bell around facing traffic, and he
to slide backwards into the gravel trap as the field behind him scattered
avoind the incident. Derek was quick on his toes though, recovering and
out of the dirt and back onto the track, now nearly at the back of the
While Derek worked to make up ground, Galati was losing positions up
falling victim first to Pobst on lap eight, and later to Cunningham and
as well as the race wore on. The S4 crew had struggled all week coming to
with the demanding Laguna Seca circuit, and though Galati's excellent
put him in the lead, his Audi S4 was no match for the faster and lighter
Meanwhile, Paul Edwards was having an even more eventful race than Bell,
making an unscheduled pit stop to replace his right-front wheel, damaged
contact with another car. Later Edwards put his #3 Audi into the dirt at
but he persevered despite the adversity to finish his first SPEED GT race
"The early laps were wild and crazy," said Pobst. "It's a high quality
team and I think it shows in the results. "While realistically we are not
in the championship fight, we will continue to work towards next year and
future years in the SPEED World Challenge Championship."
Cunningham, driving the No. 42 RealTime Racing Acura NSX, started from the
Woody's Ice pole position, but was in second place by turn one as Galati
shot past him
at the start. Cunningham spent the majority of the event running in third
behind Galati and Pobst, but on lap 17, moved inside of Galati entering
eleven and grabbed second place, remaining there until the checkered came
on the 26-lap event.
"I had a little wheel spin at the start, but was solidly in second place
into the first turn," said Cunningham. "I was able to build a gap on the
guys behind me, as Randy [Pobst] and Paul [Edwards] battled for position."
Marks who started the event in fifth in the No. 80 Flextronics/Shoreline/Brocade
Porsche 911 Cup, battled early with Paul Edwards, of Santa Maria, Calif.,
some heated bumping as the two ran up the hill to the corkscrew. Marks was
to move past Galati with eight laps remaining, to claim a career-best
Porsche maintains its lead in the Manufacturers' Championship standings,
56, followed by Audi (41), Acura (32), BMW (26) and Saleen (10).
The race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel October 5 at 9:00 p.m.
Results from Laguna Seca SPEED GT:
1. (4), Randy Pobst, Gainesville, Ga., Porsche 911 Cup, 26.
2. (1), Peter Cunningham, W. Bend, Wis., Acura NSX SC, -1.848sec
3. (5), Justin Marks, Woodside, Calif., Porsche 911 Cup, -3.652
4. (3), Michael Galati, N. Olmstead, Ohio,
Audi S4 Comp., -6.352
5. (9), Jeff McMillin, Erie, Pa., BMW M3, -8.314
6. (10), John Young(R), Woodside, Calif., Saleen SR, -12.143
7. (11), Derek Bell, Pagham, England, Audi S4
18. (6), Paul Edwards(R), Santa Maria,
Calif., Audi S4 Comp., -1 lap
Time of race: 46 minutes, 31.432 seconds.
Average speed: 75.042 mph
Margin of victory: 1.8480 seconds
Lap leaders: Laps 1-8, #1 Michael Galati;
9-26, #22 Randy Pobst
Fastest race lap: #22 Randy Pobst, 1:39.278 (81.153 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #42 Peter Cunningham, 1:38.188 (82.054 mph)
Cautions: One for five laps
SPEED GT Drivers' Points after Laguna Seca:
1- Michael Galati - 221
2 - Peter Cunningham - 198
3 - Jeff McMillin - 182
4 - Johannes van Overbeek - 175
5 - John Young (R) - 162
6 - Randy Pobst - 161
7 - Derek Bell - 146