Lexington, Ohio (Aug 5, 2011) – K-PAX Racing, the World Challenge GT Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ champion in 2010, enjoyed a solid day of qualifying at round seven of the Pirelli World Challenge Championship at Mid Ohio, with three out of the four of the teams cars qualifying in the top three in both the GT and Touring Car classes.
The story of the day for the team was Aaron Povoledo’s stellar run for pole in his Volvo C30 Touring Car in the first qualifying session of the weekend. Povoledo qualified with a time of 1:35.00 to snatch the pole from second placed Lawson Aschenbach by over 8 tenths of a second. More importantly Povoledo’s pole earns 1 point for Volvo in the battle for the Manufacturers Championship in Touring Car. While Povoledo was beyond thrilled with his effort, he also understands that it took more than one person to make this result possible.
“I’m just over the moon that we were able to put this car on pole again. It was an all around huge team effort. I think that the work that the guys did back at the shop during the break made all of the difference. They gave me a car that I was able to drive really hard but really precisely, and that’s what made the difference. I’m really looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
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Overcoming some difficulties early in the session Robb Holland managed to put his Volvo C30 up into third place on the very last lap. Holland’s was a little disappointed with his time of 1:36.14 and felt that his C30 had more in it then he was able to show.
“We got blocked on our first flying lap by a few cars that passed under the double yellow. I was unable to get my brake pads bedded in properly and they glazed up and it took until the last lap of the session to get them working right. I’m really looking forward to the race tomorrow because, as my teammate has shown, there is a lot more left in these C30’s and I’m confident that we’ll put in a good show for all of the Volvo fans here this weekend.”
On the GT side of things the story was much the same with Alex Figge, in only his second qualifying effort in the series, doing an impressive job by putting his Volvo S60 GT on the second row of the grid in position 3. In setting a time of 1:24.336 that was only 4 tenths of a second off of pole, Figge was looking forward to being able to put pressure on the competition in tomorrows race.
“It was a good qualifying session. Much shorter than the ones I was used to in ALMS and Champ Car. I was a little nervous at first but I was able to get focused and put in a lap that was good enough for P3 and very much in range of the top two. I’m pretty satisfied with my effort and the team did a great job with the set up and I’m confident that we can run strong in the race tomorrow.”
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The only sour note struck in today’s efforts by the K-PAX Racing team was that reigning series champion, Randy Pobst, was unable to put in a lap during qualifying due to an undiagnosed issue with his car. The team plans on working hard through the night in order to sort out the problem and get Pobst back on track in time for tomorrows race.
In attendance this weekend is Volvo acting President, John Maloney, who was impressed with the strong results that the K-PAX Racing Volvo’s produced.
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“It was a great day of qualifying today. To start the second half of the season with a first and third in Touring Car and third in GT is fantastic. The team obviously worked hard during the hiatus and made some good improvements to both the C30’s and S60’s and we’re running at the front and looking for more good things tomorrow in the race.”
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Lexington, Ohio (Aug. 6, 2011) – Lightening struck twice in race one at the Pirelli World Challenge race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Alex Figge, of Denver, Colo., starting the all new Volvo S60 in the GT class, jumped from his third starting position to first by the exit of turn one with the Porsche of Patrick Long and the Cadillac of Johnny O’Connell pressuring him into the keyhole turn two.
There were two yellow flag restarts forcing Figge to defend after O’Connell got a jump on the first restart. On the second restart Alex got a jump on O’Connell building a gap over the next couple of laps. On lap 18 Figge caught a break as the Corvette of Patrick Lindsey made contact with O’Connell at the end of the back straight, taking them both out of contention. From there Figge focused on building a gap over the rest of the field until an incident in turn 2 brought out the final yellow of the day. With repairs to the barriers extending beyond the allotted time, the race would finish under caution with Figge taking his first win in Pirelli World Challenge competition.
“The track was really greasy today from the combination of the heat and the rubber that the ALMS and IRL guys put down. That played right into the hands of our Volvo S60 all-wheel drive. The car was fantastic and I have to thank all of the crew at K-PAX Racing for that. The amount of work that they did to get the cars ready for this weekend was epic and I’m glad I could reward them with the first win for the new S60”
The second lighting strike was for Robb Holland, driving the Volvo C30 in the Touring Car class, Holland managed to avoid an incident as the lights went out for the standing start. “One of the GTS cars stalled on the start and the Mitsubishi got into him hard and blocked the track ahead of me. I was able to squeeze by and hold on to third place behind Zitza and Aschenbach.”
After the restart Holland managed to briefly get around the Honda of series point leader Aschenbach for the lead, but he lost it a few corners later when the two cars made contact going into turn 4. From there the two leaders would put a gap on the remainder of the Touring Car field of several seconds until the second caution of the day would bring it all back together again.
On the restart Holland was able to get a good run on Aschenbach coming out of Turn 2 and get by him for the lead. However that was not the end of the battle for Holland as the two cars were never separated by more than a few tenths of a second for the remainder of the race, keeping the large crowd of Volvo fans in attendance on the edge of their seats. With the late yellow meaning the race would finish under caution, Holland was able match his team mate Figge’s win to complete Volvo’s first GT, Touring Car sweep in Pirelli World Challenge competition.
“This was such a great day for Volvo and Volvo fans everywhere. I am so happy to be able to bring home this win for both the K-PAX Racing team and for Volvo. I can’t tell you how much hard work the crew has put in to making these Volvo C30’s the best cars in the field. I’m glad I could reward all of their hard work and effort with a win!”
For Volvo fans the show didn’t stop with Holland’s win. Holland’s team mate and pole sitter, Aaron Povoledo, thrilled the crowd with his march to the front. The starting line incident with the GTS cars unfortunately collected Povoledo as well. Fortunately for him there was no major damage to his C30, but the delay in getting around the damaged cars caused him to drop to the back of the field.
Once the racing resumed Povoledo began making his way up towards the front until contact, while passing the Honda of Shea Holbrook, caused the right front of Povoledo’s C30 to go flat and for him to have to head to pit lane for a tire change. The K-PAX Racing crew was on it and was able to get him in and out before the field came by to lap him. From there, aided by the multiple full course yellows, Povoledo made a methodical march back towards the front and was able to almost make it onto the podium before the last full course yellow ended the day with Povoledo in fourth.
For a third day in a row not all of the K-PAX Racing team found success as the S60 of defending Pirelli World Challenge champion, Randy Pobst, had mechanical issues and he was forced to retire the car mid way through the race.
“This is Volvo’s first win in both the GT and Touring Car race in the same weekend. It’s Alex’s first win for us in the S60 and Robb’s first win for us in the C30, so it’s been an amazing weekend so far. Tomorrow we’d loved to see all four of our cars up on the podium!”