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  Archive of Audi S4 Race Reports/News/Photos 2002  
  Select an event to view images available. (image count)  
     
 

Audi S4  2001  -  2002 

 

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  2002 Speed GT World Challenge GT Series  
     
  '02 SPEED GT LAGUNA SECA - RACE DAY  
     
 

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 last year saw him go from 4th to 1st at the Green here; this time going from third 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, Galati and Edwards making an Acura sandwich of Cunningham.

Derek Bell, who started eleventh, found himself in a large pack of traffic as the GT field entered Turn Two, and part way 'round Bell was tagged from behind by Tim Wiens' Porsche. The hit turned Bell around facing traffic, and he continued to slide backwards into the gravel trap as the field behind him scattered to avoind the incident. Derek was quick on his toes though, recovering and blasting out of the dirt and back onto the track, now nearly at the back of the pack.

While Derek worked to make up ground, Galati was losing positions up ahead, falling victim first to Pobst on lap eight, and later to Cunningham and Marks as well as the race wore on. The S4 crew had struggled all week coming to grips with the demanding Laguna Seca circuit, and though Galati's excellent start put him in the lead, his Audi S4 was no match for the faster and lighter Porsches and Acura.

Meanwhile, Paul Edwards was having an even more eventful race than Bell, including making an unscheduled pit stop to replace his right-front wheel, damaged in contact with another car. Later Edwards put his #3 Audi into the dirt at Two, but he persevered despite the adversity to finish his first SPEED GT race in eighteenth place.

"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 spot, behind Galati and Pobst, but on lap 17, moved inside of Galati entering turn eleven and grabbed second place, remaining there until the checkered came out 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., including some heated bumping as the two ran up the hill to the corkscrew. Marks was able to move past Galati with eight laps remaining, to claim a career-best third place.

Porsche maintains its lead in the Manufacturers' Championship standings, with 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. (Eastern).

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 Comp., -30.012

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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; laps
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

 
     
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Pole-sitter Cunningham leads the SPEED GT pack on the pace lap With terrific starts, Galati in the lead at Turn One (from third starting spot), and Edwards in third (from sixth), while Derek hits traffic Derek Bell (arrow) heads into Turn Two amidst a large pack of cars behind the leaders
Bell is tagged from behind by the #33 Porsche, turning Derek around The Porsche moves on, taking part of Bell's rear bumper with it and leaving Derek facing oncoming traffic while rolling backwards Bell slides backward into the dirt, while the field behind him scatters to avoid the melee
Derek uses his S4's Quattro power to good advantage, dirt-tracking his way back onto course, many positions now lost due to the spin Lap Two, and Galati still leads Cunningham, while Randy Pobst has gotten around Paul Edwards for third Derek making his way back up through traffic, little the worse for his opening lap adventures
Pobst has worked his way past Cunningham and into second, and now hounds Galati at the top of the Corkscrew. Note damaged Porsche of Van Overbeek in background from early incident with McClure Galati now 2nd behind Pobst, Cunningham 3rd, Edwards 4th... Champion Audi's 2nd and 4th as the field heads into Turn Nine
Paul Edwards leads Marks, Cunningham and Young...but not for long PD slips from third to fifth, elevating Edwards to third behind Galati A rare sight in World Challenge - a pit stop, to change a wheel damaged when Edwards made contact with another car. Later, a trip through the runoff area would lose Paul even more time on track
Louis and Kevin watching a most eventful race... Paul and Derek recount their adventures after the race No Podium for Galati at Laguna Seca, but a strengthened lead in SPEED GT Drivers' points
This is what happens when you give a truck driver a camera...
 
     
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