Pobst, Cunningham, and Herr Top Combined Pirelli World Challenge Practice at St. Pete
ST. PETERSBURG, March 26, 2011: Overall times continued to fall through the second Pirelli World Challenge Championships Friday on the Streets of St. Petersburg, with Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., topping the GT class. Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wis., and Chip Herr, of Lancaster, Pa., led the GTS and Touring Car classes, respectively, during practice for this weekend’s Acura Sports Car Challenge Presented by Pirelli doubleheader, part of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Pobst, driving the same No. 6 K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 that he used to win the 2010 GT Drivers’ Championship, posted a time of 1:16.373 (84.846 mph) in the second of two mornig practices to lead the combined practice sheets in the GT class. That time falls under the existing qualifying record of 1:17.796 (83.294 mph), which is expected to fall later this afternoon due in large part to the move to Pirelli racing slick tires for all cars in 2011. The series has previously used DOT-approved tires.
James Sofronas, in the No. 14 GMG Porsche 911 GT3, improved his time during the second session to land just behind Pobst on the time sheets with a best time of 1:16.433 (84.780 mph) around the 14-turn, 1.9-mile street circuit.
Patrick Long posted the quickest time in the first session, and his time of 1:16.681 (84.506 mph) left him third on the combined chart when he failed to improve in the second practice behind the wheel of the No. 45 TruSpeed Porsche 911 GT3.
The top three in the GTS class, led by Cunningham’s No. 1 Acura/HPD Acura TSX, all improved from the first session while remaining in the same order. Cunningham led the charge in each session, improving to a best time of 1:23.389 (77.708 mph) during the second 30-minute session.
Eric Foss, driving the No. 73 Traxxas/St. Jude Hospital/SPX Ford Mustang FR500S, followed Cunningham in each session and posted a best time of 1:23.438 (77.662 mph) during the second practice.
15-year-old Alec Udell continues to impress, running third in the GTS class for each session and finishing with a best time of 1:24.032 (77.113 mph) behind the wheel of the No. 06 Momentum Autosports Chevrolet Camaro.
All three drivers fall under the existing GTS qualifying record of 1:25.605 (75.696 mph), set by Cunningham in the 2010 season opener.
Herr, a seven-time career Touring Car race winner, topped the Touring Car combined practice charts in the No. 07 Grid 1 Motorsports Mazda RX-8 with a time of 1:26.373 (75.023 mph). Herr finished just ahead of Pirelli World Challenge rookie Tristan Herbert, who posted a best time of 1:26.688 (74.750 mph) behind the wheel of the No. 33 Brimteck Motorsports Volkswagen GTI.
Lawson Aschenbach, the 2006 GT class winner at St. Petersburg, led the first practice and improved his best time to 1:27.766 (73.832 mph) during the second practice. That improved time left his No. 71 Compass 360 Racing Honda Civic Si third on the combined practice charts.