World Challenge Squares Off In VIR Doubleheader

Alton, Va. – With just three rounds remaining in the World Challenge Championship season, the two races at Virginia International Raceway are pivotal for anyone hoping to catch GT Championship leader Randy Pobst.

Randy Pobst leads the GT Championship.

Even with a good weekend, the field may need some luck to catch the driver of the No. 6 K-Pax Racing Volvo S60. Boosted by a series-leading three wins and six pole positions, Pobst has scored 955 championship points and leads second-place Kuno Wittmer by 146 points.

With 110 points for winning a race, 15 points for a pole position and five bonus points available for both leading a lap and leading the most laps, there are 135 points available each race – enough to close the 955 – 809 advantage that Pobst holds, but likely only if Pobst falters.

Wittmer could be a threat in the No. 13 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Viper, as he was the last World Challenge driver to win a race at VIR, albeit in the Touring Car class, in 2008.

Behind Wittmer in the standings is James Sofronas, who has finished no lower than second in the last three races, including a win at Mid-Ohio, to garner his 784 championship points in the No. 14 GMG Porsche 911 GT3. GMG teammate Dino Crescentini is fourth with 723 points in the No. 4 Centric Parts/Stoptech/GMG Porsche 911 GT3.

Patrick Lindsey (711 points) sits fifth in the No. 57 Horton/Sloan Securities Porsche 911 GT3 after top-five finishes in the past six races. Pobst’s teammate, Andy Pilgrim, battled mechanical issues throughout the middle of the season but has finished on the podium in two of the past three races and remains in sixth behind the wheel of the No. 8 K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 with 708 points.

Among the racers further back in the points but still mathematically alive for the title are Jason Daskalos (679 points, driving the No. 5 Daskalos Developments Dodge Viper), Rob Morgan (616 points, No. 46 TruSpeed Motorsports/Querencia Porsche 911 GT3), Jeff Courtney (597 points, No. 99 Kenda Tire Dodge Viper), and Tony Gaples (559 points, No. 29 Kleinschmidt/Blackdog Racing Chevrolet Corvette).

Fred Roberts has seemingly locked up the GameStreamer GT Rookie-of-the-Year award in the No. 89 Direct Energy Home Services Dodge Viper, but has his eyes on the top-10 in the Championship. He’s currently trailed by Bill Ziegler in the No. 05 Swisher Racing/GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3.

One driver hoping to crash the party in his second World Challenge start of the season is Tomy Drissi in the No. 2 Carlisle Companies/Cragar Chevrolet Corvette. A full-time SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series driver, Drissi takes the wheel of a car that has won three races this year, two each by Ron Fellows (Mosport, Watkins Glen) and one by Mike Skeen in his World Challenge debut at Mid-Ohio.

Robert Prilika makes his second-consecutive World Challenge appearance this season behind the wheel of the No. 12 RPM Porsche GT3 Cup machine.

World Challenge Touring Car and GTS – The Talent Keeps Coming

The World Challenge GTS championship is just a two-driver, intrasquad battle amongst Acura/RealTime Racing teammates Peter Cunningham (No. 43 Acura/RealTime Racing Acura TSX) and Nick Esayian (No. 34 Acura/RealTime Racing Acura TSX).

Cunningham, a five-time World Challenge champion and the all-time leader in wins and pole positions, holds a 164 point advantage of Esayian. Esayian has finished as the runner-up to his teammate in three of the last four races and would love nothing more than to push past for his first career World Challenge victory.

Even though they’re the only two battling for the season-long crown, there is plenty of competition in the GTS class. Ernie Jakubowski, in the No. 91 Fuchs/CDOC/Forgeline Porsche Cayman S, led 13 laps at Mid-Ohio and finished on the podium. Kevin Helms and Team Hondaworks just missed the podium in the debut of the No. 04 DBA/Carbotech/AST/Exedy Acura RSX at Mid-Ohio with a fourth-place finish, a feat Helms matched at the season-opener at St. Petersburg.

Tommy Sadler makes his season debut in World Challenge in a third Acura/RealTime Racing TSX, a car that is sure to be competitive. Karl Poeltl also will debut behind the wheel of the No. 83 Racer’s Edge/Wossner Pistons BMW E46 325i.

In Touring Car, Robert Stout holds the Championship lead by 149 points over Eric Meyer on the strength of Stout’s three wins in his No. 18 DG-Spec/Scion/TRD/Lucas Oil Scion tC. Meyer sits second in points in the No. 32 XOWii/Samaritan’s Feet/Delvira Mazda RX-8 and is looking for his first win.

While those two are battling for points, many more drivers are just gunning for race wins. Todd Buras returns in the No. 50 Irish Mike’s Racing Volkswagen Jetta GLI and is an immediate favorite. The driver/car combination won the opening two rounds of the season in St. Petersburg, but an accident in another race series just a few weeks later at this same VIR track left Buras with broken ribs and unable to get behind the wheel of a car. He makes his return this weekend hoping to extend his winning streak.

Greg Shaffer drove one of those Irish Mike’s cars at Mosport, but this week sits behind the wheel of the No. 36 DG-Spec/Scion/TRD Scion tC, a teammate of Stout’s. Driven by Dan Gardner and Tom Lepper this season, the No. 36 is just 24 points behind the No. 32 for second in the team championship.

Robb Holland (No. 22 303 Motorsports/Track Pro/Emich VW Volkswagen GTI) finished third at Mosport, and Devin Cates (No. 23 Cates Engineering Volkswagen GTI) finished third at Mid-Ohio in a GTS class Mustang – both could contend at VIR. Brett Sandberg (No. 28 Whitehall Stable Acura TSX) is fourth in points but still searching for a podium, while Shea Holbrook (No. 67 Honda Civic Si) earned a top-five at Toronto and hopes to better that in Virginia.

Stan Wilson (No. 92 Net Evidence/Alliance1 Dodge SRT-4) makes his season debut at VIR, while Charlie Solomon (No. 21 Racing Mazda RX-8), Carolyn Kujala (No. 40 Go 4 It Racing Schools/Hawk Volkswagen Jetta GLI), Michael Pettiford (No. 41 Go 4 It Racing Schools/Hawk Volkswagen Jetta GLI), Don Istook (No. 01 Revo Technik/Stoptech Volkswagen GTI) and Colin Cohen (No. 02 Istook Motorsports Volkswagen GTI) all return to action for the doubleheader.

Three cars will have different drivers on Saturday and Sunday. Triston Herbert and Alex Ratcliffe will share the No. 62 Brimtek/ Lexus IS300, Carl Hober and Branden Peterson split the weekend in the No. 64 Comp. Clutch/Supertech Perf. Honda Civic Si, and David Tuaty and Jose Armengol will each race the No. 66 Honda Civic Si.


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