Pobst, Cunningham and Stout Get Quicker In Afternoon World Challenge Practice at Toronto

TORONTO, Canada – With the added grip from the rubber laid down on the track after a full morning of activity on the temporary street circuit at Exhibition Place in Toronto, nearly every driver in the World Challenge Championships field improved their time in the second of two practice sessions on Friday. Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wis., and Robert Stout of Brownsburg, Ind., topped the GT, GTS and Touring Car classes, respectfully, in preparation for Saturday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge, part of the Honda Indy Toronto.

Pobst led practice on Friday from Toronto.

Pobst was quickest of the GT drivers in the morning session, then followed it up with a best time of 1:15.315 (83.887 mph) in the second 25-minute practice at the 11-turn, 1.755-mile twisty street circuit. His time in the No. 6 K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 is just off the official lap record of 1:15.261 (83.947 mph) that he set in 2007 in a K-Pax Porsche 911 GT3.

“I won in the K-Pax car the last time we were here in a different car, and this week we came off the trailer handling great,” Pobst said. “Will Moody, my engineer, and the K-Pax team get the credit for that. The Volvo likes the track. We made some braking changes because that was hurting us at Watkins Glen. We can still turn a lap. It’s going to be different in the race.”

Pobst’s history indicates he’ll be a player in Saturday afternoon’s Acura Sports Car Challenge.

“I really believe it’s my SCCA Solo and Autocross background, where there’s no practice, that helps on circuits like this,” Pobst offered. “On a street circuit, you don’t ever run the circuit except for the race, and a lot of times they change it from year-to-year, though not here. I think it’s my roots in SCCA Solo competition that help me on street courses.”

Following Pobst in the second session was K-Pax teammate Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla., in the No. 8 K-Pax Racing Volvo S60, 0.634-second behind after a best time of 1:15.949 (83.187 mph). Pilgrim turned his quickest lap early in the session.

A trio of Porsches followed the Volvos in the second practice.

Leading that pack was Dino Crescentini, of Manhattan Bach, Calif., who posted a best time of 1:16.087 (83.036 mph) in the No. 4 Centric Parts/Stoptech/GMG Porsche 911 GT3. Crescentini has had success on temporary street circuits recently, winning Round Two at St. Petersburg and finishing as runner-up in Round Three at Long Beach.

Global Motorsports Group teammate James Sofronas, in the No. 14 GMG Porsche 911 GT3, sits fourth on the practice results after a best time of 1:16.373 (82.725 mph). Patrick Lindsey’s No. 57 Horton/Sloan Securities Porsche 911 GT3 was fifth with a best time of 1:16.420 (82.674 mph) after running second in the morning practice.

Cunningham swept the day’s practice sessions in GTS after posting an afternoon lap of 1:22.047 (77.004 mph) in the No. 43 Acura/RealTime Racing Acura TSX to improve by nearly a half second over the morning session.

“It’s really hot out there this weekend,” Cunningham said. “The cars are running good, and I think having the track knowledge helps. Between knowing the set-up and knowing where the cement walls are, it helps. It’s good to come back to a place like this. On a road course, when you go off the road, you kick up a little dust. On a street course, if you go off just a little bit, you hit a wall. I really like that challenge.”

The all-time wins leader in World Challenge with 35, Cunningham led a RealTime Racing sweep of the practice when teammate Nick Esayian posted a time of 1:22.811 (76.294 mph) in the No. 34 Acura/RealTime Racing Acura TSX.

Ernie Jakubowski, of Oakville, Ontario, is chasing the Acuras in his No. 91 Fuchs/CDOC/Forgeline Porsche Cayman S in front of his home crowd after a best time of 1:24.129 (75.099 mph).

The Touring Car battle continues to remain tight, with Championship leader Stout taking the position from morning leader Nick Wittmer. Stout piloted his No. 18 DG-Spec/Scion/TRD/Lucas Oil Scion tC to a best time of 1:25.857 (73.587 mph) to nip Montreal’s Wittmer by just 0.138-second.

“I’m really happy with how we’ve run today,” Stout said. “Everyone here in Toronto is just phenomenal, the fans are awesome. Nick runs so well here, it’s pretty much his home track, so it’s nice to be ahead of him. It’s been a really great show here in Touring Car, and everything’s coming together for it to happen again. We’ve tried to make the best changes that we can to progress, and I’m pretty happy to be out there with our Scion running this good.”

Wittmer turned a best time of 1:25.995 (73.469 mph) in the No. 93 HPD/HondaRacingline/RealTime/HPD Honda Civic Si to wind up second in the afternoon practice.

Michael Pettiford, of Louisville, Colo., is in a new World Challenge car for him this weekend after driving a Pontiac Solstice and Chevrolet Corvette earlier this season in the GTS class. The No. 41 Go 4 It Racing Schools/Hawk Volkswagen Jetta GLI, with Pettiford behind the wheel, landed third after a best time of 1:26.798 (72.789 mph) during practice two. Pettiford was fifth in the morning session.

Brett Sandberg finished fourth in the No. 28 Whitehall Stable Acura TSX after a best time of 1:26.798 (72.789 mph). Robb Holland’s best time of 1:27.143 (72.501 mph) was good for fifth in the No. 22 303 Motorsports/Track Pro/Emich VW Volkswagen GTI.

The World Challenge Championships GT, GTS and Touring Car classes qualify Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. EDT in preparation for Saturday afternoon’s Acura Sports Car Challenge of Toronto at 4:20 p.m. EDT.

For more information, please visit www.world-challenge.com

Follow World Challenge on Twitter @WCRacing.
source http://www.world-challenge.com

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