Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pirelli World Challenge: Audi teams at St. Petersburg and race 1 podium for Skeen and CRP Racing

By Johan Laubscher

The Pirelli World Challenge moved to the streets of St. Petersburg for rounds three and four of the 2015 season. Six Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were entered by five different teams this weekend.

GMG Racing arrived with two Audi R8 LMS ultra entries: James Sofronas (#14 Audi – GT) and Brent Holden (#44 Audi – GTA). CRP Racing fielded its #2 Audi R8 LMS ultra with Mike Skeen (GT), Stephen Cameron Racing with the #19 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Drew Regitz (GTA), M1 Racing with the #23 Audi R8 LMS ultra bring driven by Walt Bowlin, and JCR Motorsports with the #99 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Jeff Courtney.

It was a wet qualifying session which was dominated by Ryan Eversly and his four-wheel-drive Acura. Mike Skeen was the highest placed Audi during qualifying, despite not getting a clear lap, he was able to qualify seventh. James Sofronas qualified twentieth, ahead of Drew Regitz in twenty-seventh, Jeff Courtney in twenty-eighth and Walt Bowlin in thirty-second.

Race one was held on a sunny Saturday and Ryan Eversly won from pole position, defending from Ryan Dalziel in his Porsche. The start of the race unfortunately saw Drew Regitz involved in an incident with stalled vehicles on the front straight, ending his and a number of competitors’ race. Mike Skeen had a good start and continued to move up through the field, ultimately finishing third under caution.

James Sofronas also moved forward during the race and finished thirteenth. Jeff Courtney progressed up to twenty-first finishing position, followed by Walt Bowlin in twenty-seventh. Brent Holden did not start the race.

The second and final race was held on Sunday. Mike Skeen was the highest Audi on the grid. The first lap saw a number of different incidents which resulted in a caution period that lasted for over half of the race duration. Unfortunately the #23 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Walt Bowlin was involved in one of the opening lap incidents and retired with damage, luckily Bowlin was unharmed.

A twenty-minute sprint began when the race went green. Mike Skeen moved up to fourth place and held that position until he was passed by Ryan Dalziel and spun around by Davison in the Nissan.

James Sofronas finished as the highest placed Audi in eighth, ahead of Jeff Courtney in nineteenth, Skeen in twenty-eighth and Drew Regitz in thirty-second.

The weekend’s results can be seen HERE.

The Pirelli World Challenge will now be heading to Long Beach from 17-19 April.