Tuesday, July 24, 2007

SPEED World Challenge GT Championship, Round 7
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
July 20-22, 2007

Story Dave Drimmie | Photos Michael Wong

The feast or famine season continued for Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Corvette driver Eric Curran as the SPEED World Challenge rolled into Mid-Ohio for the 10th time in series history. After two straight wins to open the season (Sebring, Long Beach) followed by three DNF’s (Miller, Charlotte, Watkins Glen) and a 7th at Toronto, Curran ran flag-to-flag for the win holding off Dodge Viper driver Tommy Archer. GT series driver points leader Randy Pobst finished third. In a post-race technical inspection, Archer's Viper was disqualified because of a non-compliant gearbox moving Lawson Aschenbach in the Cadillac CTS-V up to third.

Saturday’s 20-minute qualifying session got under way at 7:50am under clear, sunny 53 degree conditions. The story of qualifying was that of Eric Curran who blew away the qualifying record by over a second. In fact, the top 10 qualifiers all bested the former SPEED GT qualifying lap record at Mid-Ohio – a 1:26.820 (93.628 mph) mark set by Wolf Henzler in 2005.

Here’s the top 10 qualifiers for Sunday afternoon’s race:

1. Eric Curran Chevrolet Corvette Whelen Engineering 1:25.624 @94.936mph
2. Tommy Archer Dodge Viper MOPAR/Autohaus Motorsport 1:25.718 @94.831mph
3. Randy Pobst Porsche 911 GT-3 K-PAX Racing LLC/Jim Haughey 1:25.792 @94.750mph
4. Michael Galati Porsche 911 GT-3 K-PAX Racing LLC/Jim Haughey 1:26.031@94.486mph
5. Lawson Aschenbach Cadillac CTS-V XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/Bose 1:26.408 @94.074 mph
6. Andy Pilgrim Cadillac CTS-V XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/Bose 1:26.489 @93.986mph
7. Brian Kubinski Chevrolet Corvette Diamond Const/Blackdog Racing 1:26.580 @93.887mph
8. Michael McCann Dodge Viper McCann Plastics/K&N Filters 1:26.641 @93.821mph
9. James Sofronas Porsche 911 GT-3 Global Motorsports Group 1:26.961 @93.476mph
10. Tim McKenzie Porsche 911 GT-3 TR Racing 1:27.044 @93.387mph

Sunday’s 29-lap race on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio road course started at 4:14pm under sunny, clear 77 degree conditions. Off the standing start, Curran took the hole shot with Archer and Pobst in pursuit. Through laps six to 10 Curran built up an over one-second lead on Archer and it looked as though he would run away with the win. But mid-race Archer closed the gap to within one-car length, only to have Curran again pull away after passing lap traffic. Archer never again closed within two car lengths and Curran took the checked flag to claim his third top finish this season. “It’s been an unbelievable season,” Curran said. “The first couple of races were amazing. Two wins with a new team, and then things fell apart in a hurry. I couldn’t believe how quickly things went down hill, but these guys at Marsh Racing have been working their hearts out weekend after weekend trying to give me the best possible car. Toronto was a disastrous weekend, but we ended up finishing seventh and got to take some weight out of the car and I think that helped a bit today.”

Here’s how the top 10 finished at Mid-Ohio:

1. Eric Curran Chevrolet Corvette
2. Randy Pobst Porsche 911 GT-3
3. Lawson Aschenbach Cadillac CTS-V
4. Andy Pilgrim Cadillac CTS-V
5. Michael Galati Porsche 911 GT-3
6. Michael McCann Dodge Viper
7. Brian Kubinski Chevrolet Corvette
8. James Sofronas Porsche 911 GT-3
9. Tim McKenzie Porsche 911 GT-3
10. Doug Peterson Chevrolet Corvette

Driver Points after seven of 10 races:

Randy Pobst 215
Andy Pilgrim 197
Lawson Aschenbach 185
Michael Galati 174
Eric Curran 153

Manufacturer Points after seven of 10 races:

Cadillac 45
Chevrolet 41
Porsche 41
Dodge 19

Teams now head to the Grand Prix of Mosport August 25-26 and Modified Luxury & Exotics will be there to bring you the coverage. And pick up the latest copy of MLE for all of the latest on the SPEED World Challenge GT Series. The race from Mid-Ohio airs on SPEED TV on Saturday, July 28th at 4pm est.

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