Posted (06/21/2008) -
For Immediate Release:
Mansfield, OH - APR Motorsport's weekend at Mid Ohio Raceway got off to a great start when Mark White, co-driver with Randy Pobst in the #181 Team Janica Racing GTi, qualified in 5th place today during a shortened qualifying session.
White, who had been in the top ten during all the practices, upped his pace to a time of 1:38.12 on his third and final lap of qualifying. White's time was a mere .099 off the second place Acura TSX of Burrows/Hopwood, with four cars all falling within 1/10th of a second (from position 2-5) in what is undoubtedly one of the closest qualifying sessions in KONI Challenge history.
White said about his fast lap "Once the tires warmed up, the car really came into it's sweet spot. The car was just so balanced. I tried to sit back and get as much space as possible in order to avoid traffic but, with the shortened session, there just wasn't enough time."
White added: " I really think Mid Ohio suits our cars well and it showed today. I want to thank our crew for their great work this weekend. From the minute we hit the track the car just kept improving with every session. Now it's up to Randy and I to try and reward the team with our first podium, which I feel is entirely possible. Let's get to racing!"
White actually had an interesting weekend here at Mid Ohio Raceway, as he was left alone to set up the GTi due to the absence of co-driver Pobst, who was partaking in a test for Motor Trend Magazine at Laguna Seca on Friday. Randy said about Mark's qualifier "I am just so happy with how far up the grid Mark put us. He did a great job of setting up the car and I was immediately comfortable in it. Perhaps I should stay away more!". Pobst added "I really like the way the car is handling and I really think we have podium potential this weekend, as long as we can keep our car impact free."
Sadly, the qualifying was shortened due to another of APR Motorsport GTi's mechanical problem. Car #171, driven by Ian Baas and Dion von Moltke, suffered an oil leak early in qualifying, causing a black flag situation and preventing the #171 from obtaining a qualifying time. The leak appears to be fixed and, though starting from the second to last spot on the grid, expectations are high for the two. Baas said "Is there a golden horseshoe I can buy around here. Man, we need some luck!" Dion von Moltke added "Ian and I should get some of those golden race boots that Fernando Alonso wears. That'd be the ticket!". Both drivers took the problems in stride and are excited the problem is solved and they'll race tomorrow.
The last bit of APR Motorsport's luck came crashing down with the #191 car of Scott Tucker and Ed Zabinski failed to make to make the qualifying session due to an unknown (as of time this release was drafted) driveline issue. Tucker, who is pulling double duty this weekend in also racing in the Miller Challenge Mustang series, simply said "What can I say, that's racing. Luck doesn't always fall your way. I look forward to the race tomorrow and rest assured we have a car that can compete with the best."
The EMCO Gears Classic weekend KONI Challenge ST race starts tomorrow (Sunday June 22) at 12:45pm Eastern Time and is scheduled for 2.5 hours. Fans can watch the progress via real-time timing and scoring at: http://www.grand-am.com/livetiming/