ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Alex Figge and Andy Lee not only won Motul poles in GT and GTS respectively, but set new track records in the process of setting the grid for Race One in the Pirelli World Challenge St. Petersburg Sports Car Challenge Presented by StopTech.
This Pirelli World Challenge event runs as part of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Figge, driving the No. 9 K-PAX Racing/Volvo S60, made a statement by smashing the previos class qualifying record of 1:15.071 (86.318 mph), set in 2011 by Patrick Long. Figgie set the new record at 1:13.967 (87.606mph) around the 14-turn, 1.8-mile street circuit. The lap put Figge just less than half a second ahead of his team mate and nearest competitor Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga. The all-Volvo front row may cause problems for the rest of the field on the Streets of St. Petersburg.
“On a street course, it’s nice to have the all-wheel drive for sure,” Figge said. “There’s a lot of horsepower talk in this series, and obviously grip makes a big difference, too. Anytime you can out-qualify Randy Pobst, as well, it’s really good. He’s one of the best in the business, so it’s always nice to be able to do that.
“We’re looking forward to the race. I think we’ve got a good car. Historically, we qualify a bit better than we race, but hopefully we can get a good start and use some traffic to our advantage and hopefully things go well.”
Pobst, driving the sister No. 6 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60, was no slouch either. Pobst came out of pit lane quickly, setting an early fast lap. Figge and Pobst then traded the top spot back and forth for two laps until Figge was able to take and hold onto the point. Pobst will take the green flag next to his Volvo team mate on the outside of row one.
Ryan Dalziel made an impressive debut in the Pirelli World Challenge, putting the No. 46 Privacy Star/ENTRUST/Porsche 911 GT3 on the inside of row two with a time of 1:14.737 (86.704 mph).
The No. 14 GMG/Mobil 1/Audi R8, driven by James Sofronas, will roll off the grid on the outside of row two. Sofronas clocked a time of 1:14.812 (86.617 mph). Sofronas bided his time in the session, setting his fast time on his 10th of 11 laps.
Defending Driver’s Champion Johnny O’Connell put his No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R on the inside of row three with a time of 1:15.237 (86.127 mph).