Skeen & Aschenbach Rule Lime Rock

Mike Skeen picked up the victory in the GT class during Friday's Pirelli World Challenge event at Lime Rock (Conn.) Park. (SCCA Photo)
Mike Skeen picked up the victory in the GT class during Friday’s Pirelli World Challenge event at Lime Rock (Conn.) Park. (SCCA Photo)

LIME ROCK, Conn. – Mike Skeen and Lawson Aschenbach took the GT and GTS class wins in Round Eight of the Pirelli World Challenge season at the Cadillac Lime Rock Park Grand Prix.

Skeen took his first win of the year in the No. 2 Hawk Performance Chevrolet Corvette for CRP Racing. His most recent wins came at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Mosport last year, when he swept the doubleheader race weekend there. Skeen led the last 45 laps in the 49-lap, 50-minute race, and averaged 88.945 mph.

He advanced from third to first past the pair of Cadillac CTS-V.Rs that had started on the front row. On lap five, Skeen passed polesitter Johnny O’Connell in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R for the lead as the field was already into traffic. The move secured Skeen the Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race Award.

“We had a great start, and just followed Johnny into turn one,” said Skeen. “I got in front of Andy and followed Johnny as best we could. We then caught some traffic – he chose right, I chose left – and from there it was about bringing it home. The yellow didn’t help when we caught it, because we didn’t have the car to get too far in front of them. But we ran a really clean race.”

Andy Pilgrim in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R passed his teammate O’Connell for second place on the last lap, on the final straight. Pilgrim paid tribute to the cleanliness of the race, as there was only one yellow flag interruption.

“He had a little bit of traffic ahead and momentum carried me by,” said Pilgrim. “I couldn’t lift anyway; I also had to be conscientious of the Manufacturer’s Championship for Cadillac. I want to say to the GTS guys, thank you, as everyone did a phenomenal job for 40 minutes. Some held us up more than others but I want to thank them all for looking in their mirrors. I hope we have a great race like that tomorrow.”

O’Connell ended third ahead of two drivers who had a good battle for fourth. Duncan Ende equaled his best result of 2013 in fourth place in the No. 24 Services/GMG Audi R8 LMS, with Randy Pobst fifth in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60. GT points leader James Sofronas in the GMG/Swisher Racing/Mobil 1 Audi R8 LMS, started and finished sixth.

O’Connell, who set the fastest race lap, will start on the Motul pole for Round Nine on Saturday at 10:35 a.m. (EDT).

Aschenbach was involved in another Camaro-on-Camaro battle for the GTS class victory. Driving the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro, Aschenbach passed Andy Lee for his third victory of the season, with the winning move securing him the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race Award.

Lee in the No. 20 Best IT/Bondurant/Crown Seven Chevrolet Camaro, started on pole but dropped back after getting caught up in traffic. The dust-up allowed Aschenbach and Jack Baldwin in the No. 73 Motul/StopTech/Foametix Porsche Cayman S, to jump ahead.