subscribe: Posts | Comments | Email

SCCA World Challenge 2009 Season Review

2 comments

GT

The ten-race 2009 SCCA World Challenge GT series produced seven racewinning drivers (with Andy Pilgrim, Tony Rivera, and James Sofronas taking two wins apiece and single victories scored by Dino Crescentini, Jason Daskalos, Brandon Davis, and Randy Pobst), four racewinning marques (Porsche five, Volvo three, Dodge and Ford one win apiece), and five racewinning entrants (Global Motorsports and K-Pax three, Brass Monkey two, Daskalos and Davis one win each).  No driver won consecutive races.  Only Porsche achieved consecutive victories (Sebring and Long Beach).  One Entrant achieved a 1-2 race finish (K-Pax at Thunderbolt).

Brandon Davis led the GT contingent with three Fast Qualifier honors; Randy Pobst and James Sofronas each earned two FQs with Dino Crescentini, Andy Pilgrim, and Boris Said taking one apiece as six drivers posted 2009 GT FQs.  Ford took four FQs with its Mustang Cobra, Porsche three with its 911 GT3 and Volvo three with its S60.  Among the Entrants, Davis Racing led with 4 GT FQs to three apiece for Global Motorsports Group and K-Pax.  Davis was the only driver to post consecutive GT FQs (Mosport and Watkins Glen).  Davis Racing (Mosport-Watkins Glen) and K-Pax (Long Beach-Thunderbolt) each posted consecutive GT FQs.  Ford and Volvo each had consecutive GT FQs courtesy of Davis and K-Pax, respectively.

FAST LAPS-DRIVERS: Andy Pilgrim, Tony Rivera 3; Dino Crescentini, Eric Curran, Randy Pobst, James Sofronas 1

FAST LAPS-CARS: Porsche 911 GT3 5; Volvo S60 4; Chevrolet Corvette 1

FAST LAPS-MARQUES: Porsche 5; Volvo 4; Chevrolet 1

FAST LAPS-ENTRANTS: K-Pax Racing 4; Brass Monkey 3; Global Motorsports 2; Whelen 1

CONSECUTIVE FAST LAPS-DRIVER/ENTRANT/MARQUE: Andy Pilgrim/K-Pax/Volvo S60 3 (2009 Long Beach-Thunderbolt-Mosport); Tony Rivera/Brass Monkey/Porsche 911 GT3 2 (2009 Mid-Ohio – Road America)

“CLEAN SWEEP” (FQ/Fast Lap/Win): One (Thunderbolt, Andy Pilgrim)

CLOSEST VICTORY MARGIN: 0.255 (Watkins Glen)

LARGEST VICTORY MARGIN: 7.268 (Road America)

VICTORY MARGINS UNDER ONE SECOND: Three (30.0%) (Thunderbolt, Mosport, Watkins Glen)

TOTAL VICTORY MARGIN (10 races): 27.070 seconds

AVERAGE VICTORY MARGIN: 2.707 seconds

WINS BY POLESITTERS: Two (20.0%) (Thunderbolt, Pilgrim; Mid-Ohio, Davis)

WINS BY FAST QUALIFIERS: Two (20.0%) (Thunderbolt, Pilgrim; Mid-Ohio, Davis)

BEST STARTING POSITION, RACEWINNER: 1st (Andy Pilgrim, Thunderbolt; Brandon Davis, Mid-Ohio)

LOWEST STARTING POSITION, RACEWINNER: 4th (Andy Pilgrim, Road Atlanta)

AVERAGE STARTING POSITION, RACEWINNER: 2.20

AVERAGE FAST QUALIFIER FINISHING POSITION: 10.30

AVERAGE POLESITTER FINISHING POSITION: 6.60

TOP FIVE QUALIFYING INVERSIONS: 5 (50.0%) (Long Beach, Mosport, Watkins Glen, Road Atlanta, Laguna Seca)

MOST LEAD-LAP FINISHERS, RACE: 16 (Sebring, Laguna Seca)

FEWEST LEAD-LAP FINISHERS, RACE:  7 (Thunderbolt)

TOTAL LEAD-LAP FINISHERS (10 RACES): 119

AVERAGE LEAD-LAP FINISHERS, RACE: 11.90

MOST LEADERS, RACE: 3 (Sebring)

FEWEST LEADERS, RACE: 1 (Thunderbolt, Mosport, Mid-Ohio, Road America, Road Atlanta)

AVERAGE NUMBER OF LEADERS PER RACE: 1.60

MOST LEAD CHANGES, RACE: 2 (Sebring, Autobahn)

FEWEST LEAD CHANGES, RACE: 0 (Thunderbolt, Mosport, Mid-Ohio, Road America, Road Atlanta)

AVERAGE NUMBER OF LEAD CHANGES PER RACE: 0.70

DRIVERS STARTING EVERY EVENT (10 RACES): 7

DRIVERS CONTESTING GT SERIES: 44

TOP THREE “PODIUM” FINISHES (9 DRIVERS): Brandon Davis 7; Eric Curran 6; Tony Rivera, James Sofronas 4

Randy Pobst 3; Dino Crescentini, Andy Pilgrim 2; Jason Daskalos, Brian Kubinski 1

MOST TOP FIVE FINISHES: Brandon Davis 9; Eric Curran, Tony Rivera 7

DRIVERS SCORING TOP FIVE FINISHES: 12

MOST TOP TEN FINISHES: Brandon Davis 10; Tony Rivera, James Sofronas 9

DRIVERS SCORING TOP TEN FINISHES: 27

MOST LEAD-LAP FINISHES: Brandon Davis 10; Tony Rivera, James Sofronas 9

DRIVERS SCORING LEAD-LAP FINISHES: 33

BEST LAP COMPLETION PERCENTAGES (10 STARTS): Brandon Davis 100.0%; Tony Rivera 99.60%

BEST AVERAGE FINISHING POSITIONS (10 STARTS): Brandon Davis 3.30; Tony Rivera 5.20; James Sofronas 5.40

BEST AVERAGE STARTING POSITIONS (10 STARTS): James Sofronas 3.20; Brandon Davis 3.50

RACES LED-DRIVERS:  Tony Rivera, James Sofronas 3; Dino Crescentini, Brandon Davis, Andy Pilgrim 2; Eric Curran, Jason Daskalos, Mike Davis, Randy Pobst 1

DRIVERS LEADING RACES: 9

LAPS LED-DRIVER (of 252): Andy Pilgrim 59; James Sofronas 56; Brandon Davis 33; Jason Daskalos 30; Tony Rivera 25; Dino Crescentini 21; Randy Pobst 15; Eric Curran 12; Mike Davis 1

LAPS LED-CAR (of 252): Porsche 911 GT3 102; Volvo S60 74; Ford Mustang Cobra 34; Dodge Viper 30; Chevrolet Corvette 12

LAPS LED-ENTRANTS (of 252): Global Motorsports Group 77; K-Pax Racing 74; Davis Racing 34; Daskalos Racing 30; Brass Monkey 25; Whelen 12

TOURING CAR

The ten-race 2009 Touring Car season produced five racewinning drivers (Jason Saini three wins, Seth Thomas three, Pierre Kleinubing two, Peter Cunningham and Kuno Wittmer one each), three racewinning marques (Acura four wins, BMW and Mazda three wins apiece), and three racewinning entrants (Realtime four wins, Bimmerworld and Tri-Point three wins each).

Kleinubing’s 2009 championship allowed Jason Saini to set an unwanted record: Saini led the points after eight of the ten 2009 races (races two through nine) and thus became the driver to lead the points after the most races in a season but fail to win the title!  The previous mark was set by Michael Galati in 1997 T2 when he led after seven of the ten races but failed to win the title.

Kleinubing’s 2009 title marked the sixth time a World Challenge season championship lead changed hands due to the results of the final race.

Kleinubing’s 2009 achievement of winning the title after leading the points for only one race equalled Michael Galati’s identical feat in winning the 1996 T2 title.  As with Kleinubing in 2009, Galati led the points only once in 1996 T2, after the finale!

Kleinubing’s 2009 deficit in the points ranged from seventeen points down (to Seth Thomas) after race one to as little as three behind Saini after race five (Watkins Glen) to as much as eighty-four points behind Saini as he ranked third in points after race seven (Mid-Ohio).  Saini led the standings by 63 points over Peter Cunningham after the Mid-Ohio race.

Kleinubing’s 2009 title was his record-tying fifth in World Challenge competition; Peter Cunningham and Michael Galati also have five World Challenge season titles.

WINS-DRIVERS: Jason Saini, Seth Thomas 3; Pierre Kleinubing 2; Peter Cunningham, Kuno Wittmer 1

WINNING DRIVERS: 5

WINS-CARS:  Acura TSX 4; BMW 328i, Mazda 6 3

WINS-MARQUES:  Acura 4; BMW, Mazda 3

WINS-ENTRANTS:  Realtime 4; BimmerWorld, Tri-Point 3

1-2-3 FINISHES BY ENTRANTS/MARQUES: Realtime/Acura 1 (Mosport I); BimmerWorld/BMW 1 (Road Atlanta)

1-2 FINISHES BY ENTRANTS/MARQUES: Realtime/Acura 1 (Laguna Seca)

CONSECUTIVE WINS-DRIVER: Jason Saini 2 (2009 Autobahn-Mid-Ohio)

CONSECUTIVE WINS-ENTRANTS/MARQUES: Realtime/Acura 2 (2009 Mosport I-Mosport II); Tri-Point/Mazda 2 (2009 Autobahn-Mid-Ohio)

FAST QUALIFICATIONS-DRIVERS: Charles Espenlaub, Eric Foss, Pierre Kleinubing 2; James Clay, Jason Saini, Seth Thomas, Kuno Wittmer 1

CONSECUTIVE FAST QUALIFICATIONS-DRIVER/ENTRANT/MARQUE: Eric Foss/Tri-Point/Mazda 6 2 (2009 Mosport I-Mosport II); Charles Espenlaub/Tri-Point/Mazda 6 2 (2009 Mid-Ohio – Road America)

CONSECUTIVE FAST QUALIFICATIONS-ENTRANT/MARQUE: Realtime Acura 2 (2009 Sebring-Thunderbolt); Tri-Point/Mazda 6 3 (2009 Autobahn-Road America)

FAST QUALIFICATIONS-RACECARS: Mazda 6 5; Acura TSX 3; BMW 328i 2

FAST QUALIFICATIONS-MARQUES: Mazda 5; Acura 3; BMW 2

FAST QUALIFICATIONS-ENTRANTS: Tri-Point 5; Realtime 3; BimmerWorld 2

FAST LAPS-DRIVERS: James Clay, Charles Espenlaub, Pierre Kleinubing 2; Andrew Aquilante, Peter Cunningham, Eric Foss, Seth Thomas 1

FAST LAPS-CARS: Acura TSX, BMW 328i, Mazda 6 3; Subaru WRX 1

FAST LAPS-MARQUES: Acura, BMW, Mazda  3; Subaru 1

FAST LAPS-ENTRANTS: Bimmerworld, Realtime, Tri-Point 3; Phoenix 1

CONSECUTIVE FAST LAPS-DRIVER/ENTRANT/MARQUE: James Clay/Bimmerworld/BMW 328i 2 (2009 Road Atlanta-Laguna Seca, current streak)

CONSECUTIVE FAST LAPS-ENTRANT/MARQUE: Tri-Point/Mazda 2 (2009 Mosport I-Mosport II); Realtime/Acura 2 (2009 Autobahn-Mid-Ohio)

“CLEAN SWEEP” (FQ/Fast Lap/Win): None

CLOSEST VICTORY MARGIN: 0.564 second (Mosport II)

LARGEST VICTORY MARGIN: 19.035 seconds (Mosport I)

VICTORY MARGINS UNDER ONE SECOND: Two (20.0%) (Mosport II, Laguna Seca)

TOTAL VICTORY MARGIN (10 races): 35.952 seconds

AVERAGE VICTORY MARGIN: 3.595 seconds

WINS BY POLESITTERS: Four (40.0%) (Peter Cunningham, Mosport II; Seth Thomas, Watkins Glen; Jason Saini, Autobahn; Pierre Kleinubing, Laguna Seca)

BEST STARTING POSITION, RACEWINNER: 1st (Peter Cunningham, Mosport II; Seth Thomas, Watkins Glen; Jason Saini, Autobahn; Pierre Kleinubing, Laguna Seca)

LOWEST STARTING POSITION, RACEWINNER:  8th (Jason Saini, Mid-Ohio)

AVERAGE STARTING POSITION, RACEWINNER: 2.50

AVERAGE POLESITTER FINISHING POSITION: 3.60

AVERAGE FAST QUALIFIER FINISHING POSITION:  3.60

WINS BY FAST QUALIFIERS: Three (30.0%) (Seth Thomas, Watkins Glen; Jason Saini, Autobahn; Pierre Kleinubing, Laguna Seca)

TOP FIVE QUALIFYING INVERSIONS:  Four (40.0%)  (Thunderbolt, Mosport II, Road America, Road Atlanta)

MOST LEADERS, RACE: 2 (Thunderbolt, Mid-Ohio, Road America, Road Atlanta)

FEWEST LEADERS, RACE: 1 (Sebring, Mosport I, Mosport II, Watkins Glen, Autobahn, Laguna Seca)

AVERAGE NUMBER OF LEADERS PER RACE: 1.40

MOST LEAD CHANGES, RACE:  1 (Thunderbolt, Mid-Ohio, Road America, Road Atlanta)

FEWEST LEAD CHANGES, RACE: 0 (Sebring, Mosport I, Mosport II, Watkins Glen, Autobahn, Laguna Seca)

AVERAGE NUMBER OF LEAD CHANGES PER RACE: 0.40

MOST LEAD-LAP FINISHERS, RACE: 15 (Laguna Seca)

FEWEST LEAD-LAP FINISHERS, RACE: 7 (Mosport I)

TOTAL LEAD-LAP FINISHERS (10 RACES): 100

AVERAGE LEAD-LAP FINISHERS, RACE: 10.0

DRIVERS CONTESTING EVERY EVENT (10 RACES): 9

DRIVERS CONTESTING TOURING CAR SERIES: 34

TOP THREE “PODIUM” FINISHES (11 DRIVERS):  Pierre Kleinubing 6; Peter Cunningham, Jason Saini 5; Charles Espenlaub, Seth Thomas 3; Andrew Aquilante, James Clay 2; Nick Esayian, Patrick Lindsey, Kuno Wittmer, Nick Wittmer 1

MOST TOP FIVE FINISHES: Pierre Kleinubing 8; Peter Cunningham, Jason Saini 7

DRIVERS SCORING TOP FIVE FINISHES: 13

MOST TOP TEN FINISHES: Peter Cunningham, Pierre Kleinubing, Jason Saini 10

DRIVERS SCORING TOP TEN FINISHES: 22

MOST LEAD-LAP FINISHES: Peter Cunningham, Eric Foss, Jason Saini 10; Pierre Kleinubing 9

DRIVERS SCORING LEAD-LAP FINISHES: 24

BEST LAP COMPLETION PERCENTAGE (10 STARTS): Peter Cunningham, Eric Foss, Jason Saini

100.0%

BEST AVERAGE FINISHING POSITIONS (10 STARTS): Pierre Kleinubing 3.80; Peter Cunningham 4.00; Jason Saini 4.10

BEST AVERAGE STARTING POSITIONS (10 STARTS): Kuno Wittmer 4.0; Charles Espenlaub 4.30; Pierre Kleinubing 4.70

RACES LED-DRIVERS (7 DRIVERS): Jason Saini, Seth Thomas 3; Peter Cunningham, Pierre Kleinubing, Kuno Wittmer 2; Nick Esayian, Charles Espenlaub 1

LAPS LED-DRIVER (of 235): Jason Saini 57; Seth Thomas 51; Pierre Kleinubing 38; Kuno Wittmer 33; Peter Cunningham 31; Nick Esayian 14; Charles Espenlaub 11

LAPS LED-CAR (of 235):  Acura TSX 102; Mazda 6 68; BMW 328i 65

LAPS LED-MARQUES (of 235): Acura 102; Mazda 68; BMW 65

LAPS LED-ENTRANT (of 235): Realtime 102; Tri-Point 68; Bimmerworld 65

WORLD CHALLENGE ALL-TIME STATISTICS (1990-2009)

On the All-Time World Challenge statistics list, Peter Cunningham remains the Wins leader with 32 wins to 29 for Pierre Kleinubing, 23 for Michael Galati, and 22 apiece for Lou Gigliotti and Randy Pobst.  Cunningham leads in Starts with 183 with Michael Galati second at 149, Pierre Kleinubing third at 130, James Sofronas fourth with 110 and Lou Gigliotti fifth with 108.  Cunningham also leads in Top Three “Podium” Finishes with 87 over Kleinubing’s 76, Galati’s 57, 52 for Pobst, and 49 for Lou Gigliotti.  Cunningham leads in Top Five Finishes with 120 over Kleinubing’s 95, Michael Galati with 84, Randy Pobst at 66 and Lou Gigliotti with 57.  Cunningham leads in Top Ten Finishes with 154 over Kleinubing’s 108, Galati’s 107, Randy Pobst with 82, and Andy Pilgrim with 75.  Cunningham leads the Lead-Lap Finishes list with 149 over Galati’s 116, Kleinubing’s 110, Randy Pobst at 84, and Andy Pilgrim with 69.  Pierre Kleinubing leads in Fast Qualifier honors with 36 over Cunningham’s 31.  Lou Gigliotti and Randy Pobst each have 26, Michael Galati 23.

On the Marque Wins list, Acura leads with 72 over Chevrolet’s 66, BMW at 52, and Porsche with 49.  Acura leads the Marque Fast Qualifier honors list with 74 to Chevrolet’s 65.  BMW has 41, Porsche 8, and Mazda 34.

The Realtime team continues to lead I Entrant Wins with 67 to Archer Racing’s 30.  Realtime has achieved Entrant 1-2 or Better Race Finishes 22 times with Archer Racing second with 16.

With the awarding of the 2009 GT and Touring Car driver titles, the World Challenge series has contested 46 class title seasons and Brandon Davis is the twenty-sixth driver to win a class season driver title!

2009 SCCA WORLD CHALLENGE RACE-BY-RACE HIGHLIGHTS

2009 SEBRING

Seth Thomas scored the first victory of his 51-race World Challenge career by winning the 2009 Touring Car opener at Sebring!  Seth drove a Bimmerworld BMW 328i to victory by 2.563 seconds over runnerup Pierre Kleinubing in a Realtime Acura TSX.  Thomas started second and set Fast Lap; Kleinubing was Fast Qualifier and started from the pole.  Thomas led all eighteen laps en route to victory.

Jason Saini started fifth in a Tri-Point Mazda 6 and finished third as three entrants and marques finished on the podium.

Eric Foss started twelfth but rose to fourth at the finish in his World Challenge debut in another Tri-Point Mazda 6.  Nick Esayian posted a career-best fifth-place finish after starting seventh in a Bimmerworld BMW 328i and Nick’s teammate James Clay finished sixth after starting eighth in his 328i as Bimmerworld took three of the top six positions!

Seventh after starting tenth was Michael Galati in a Tindol Mazda 6.  Andrew Aquilante finished eighth after starting eleventh in the Phoenix Performance Subaru WRX.  Peter Cunningham started and finished ninth in a Realtime Acura TSX, followed by fellow Realtime Acura TSX drivers Jeff Courtney in tenth and Toby Grahovec in eleventh, completing the lead-lap finishers.

Mechanical problems relegated fourth-starting Charles Espenlaub in a Tri-Point Mazda 6 to twelfth, a lap down.  Kuno Wittmer started his Realtime Acura TSX third but retired with mechanical problems after nine laps.  Mechanical woes retired Chip Herr’s Tindol Mazda 6 after five laps.

Tony Rivera made his World Challenge series debut a winning one as he took the win in the 2009 Sebring GT season opener!   Rivera drove his Mirage Group Porsche 911 GT3 to victory by 2.049 seconds over runnerup Eric Curran in a Whelen Chevrolet Corvette.  Rivera started third, Curran second.  Fifth-starting Brandon Davis finished third in his Davis Racing Ford Mustang Cobra as three entrants and marques finished on the podium!

Dino Crescentini was Fast Qualifier and started from the pole in a Global Motorsports Group Porsche 911 GT3 and led the first three laps.  Crescentini eventually placed eighteenth after retiring with only sixteen of the twenty laps completed.  Eric Curran then led the next twelve laps (4-15) before Rivera took the lead on lap sixteen and held on throughout the remainder of the 20-lap race.

Tony Gaples started twentieth and finished fourth in his Blackdog Racing Chevrolet Corvette as four entrants took the top four positions.  James Sofronas started fourth and finished fifth in another Global Motorsports Group Porsche 911 GT3 as GMG was the only entrant with two cars in the Top Five!

Andrew Aquilante, making his World Challenge debut by competing in both Sebring races, posted his best result of the two, a sixth-place finish from a thirteenth-place start, in the Phoenix Performance Chevrolet Corvette as Corvettes finished 2-4-6 and took three of the top six spots.  David Welch made his World Challenge debut by starting fourteenth and finishing seventh in a Woodhouse Dodge Viper.  William Ziegler made his first start in the World Challenge series, starting sixteenth and finishing eighth in another GMG Porsche 911 GT3 as GMG took three of the first nine positions!  Joey Scarallo started twenty-first and finished ninth in the Group A Pontiac GTO with Lee Saunders taking tenth after starting seventeenth in a Dodge Viper.  Five marques placed cars in the Top Ten.

Andy Pilgrim started nineteenth and finished twelfth, on the lead lap, in his first start in a K-Pax Racing Volvo S60.  Andy’s teammate Randy Pobst suffered problems and did not start.

Sixteen cars finished on the lead lap.

2009 LONG BEACH

James Sofronas scored the second victory of his World Challenge career with his win in the 2009 Long Beach GT race!  Sofronas drove his Global Motorsports Group Porsche 911 GT3 to victory by 2.430 seconds over runnerup Eric Curran in a Whelen Chevrolet Corvette.  Sofronas qualified fourth but started second after the Top Five inversion; Curran qualified and started seventh.  Fourth-starting Brandon Davis (qualified second) finished third in his Davis Racing Ford Mustang Cobra as three entrants and marques finished on the podium!  The second and third-place finishers were identical to the 2009 Sebring GT opener!  Curran took the 2009 GT point leadership with Sofronas ten points behind and Davis third, twenty-three points in arrears.

Mike Davis qualified fifth and started first in his Davis Racing Ford Mustang Cobra; he led lap one before Sofronas took over to lead the remaining twenty-eight laps of the 29-lap race!  Mike Davis finished fourth, his career-best finish in World Challenge competition!  Jason Daskalos started eighth and finished fifth in his Dodge Viper as four Entrants and marques finished in the Top Five!

Andy Pilgrim qualified and started third and finished sixth, setting Fast Lap, in his K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 as five entrants and marques finished in the top six!  2009 Sebring GT winner Tony Rivera started sixth and finished seventh in his Mirage Group Porsche 911 GT3.  Randy Pobst took Fast Qualifier honors and started fifth in his K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 but finished eighth.  Tony Gaples started sixteenth and finished ninth in his Blackdog Racing Chevrolet Corvette.  Jeff Courtney started fifteenth and finished tenth in his Dodge Viper.  The eleventh and final lead-lap finisher, Craig Stanton in an AASCO Porsche GT3 Cup, started ninth and took the GT3 Cup shootout honors!

2009 THUNDERBOLT

Andy Pilgrim drove his K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 to a flag-to-flag victory from the pole in the 2009 Thunderbolt GT race!  Pilgrim won the pole as Fast Qualifier (no Top Five inversion), set Fast Lap of the race, and led all thirty laps of the race to win by 0.413 second over K-Pax teammate and second-place starter Randy Pobst!  The victory was the eighth of Pilgrim’s World Challenge career, ranking tied for eleventh all-time!  The 1-2 finish was the first ever for K-Pax Racing and the first 1-2 for Volvo as well!

Brandon Davis started third and finished third in his Davis Racing Ford Mustang; the third-place finish was his third in the three 2009 GT races and gave him the point lead!

Gunter Schaldach started seventh and finished fourth in his Lala Dodge Viper, scoring his career-best finish!  2009 Sebring winner Tony Rivera started fifth and finished fifth in his Mirage Group Porsche 911 GT3 as four marques finished in the top five.  2009 Long Beach winner James Sofronas finished sixth after starting fourth in his Global Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3.  Seventh, and the final finisher on the lead lap, after starting eighth, was the Tony Gaples Blackdog Racing Chevrolet Corvette.

Ten of the twelve starters finished the race; William Ziegler retired for mechanical reasons and sixth-place starter Eric Curran in a Whelen Chevrolet Corvette finished fourth overall but was disqualified for a technical infraction.

The GT series now has a four-race streak without a repeat winner dating back to Brandon Davis’ victory in the 2008 Road Atlanta finale.

The 2009 GT season produced three point leaders in its first three races!  Tony Rivera led the 2009 GT points after winning race one at Sebring.  Eric Curran took over the point lead after race two at Long Beach.  Brandon Davis now leads the GT points after race three at Thunderbolt!  This marks the first time in the 1999-2009 history of the GT class that the first three races have produced three different point leaders!

This feat tied the all-time World Challenge class mark for season-opening point leaders first set in 1990 SuperProduction (Jim Dentici/Bobby Archer/Peter Cunningham) and tied in 1992 Class C (Ron Emmick/Norris Rancourt/Dave Jolly).

Brandon Davis leads the 2009 GT point standings after three races; he also led after three races in 2008 but did not win the 2008 GT title!  In the 1999-2009 history of the GT class, only one point leader after race three went on to win the season GT title: Bobby Archer in 1999!

Jason Saini scored his second career World Challenge Touring Car victory by winning the 2009 Thunderbolt Touring Car race in his Tri-Point Mazda 6.  Saini qualified and started third and led the final twenty-four laps of the twenty-seven lap race to win by 2.967 seconds over runnerup Peter Cunningham in a Realtime Acura TSX.  Cunningham qualified fifth but started from the pole due to the Top Five inversion and led the first three laps.  Andrew Aquilante qualified and started eighth and finished third in his Phoenix Performance Subaru WRX, achieving his career-best finish and Subaru’s best result in the World Challenge!  Three marques and Entrants finished on the podium!  Saini also took the Touring Car point lead!

Kuno Wittmer was Fast Qualifier and started fifth in his Realtime Acura TSX; he finished fourth.  Pierre Kleinubing qualified and started sixth, set the race’s Fast Lap, and finished fifth in his Realtime Acura TSX as Realtime took three of the Top Five finishing positions!

Eric Foss qualified and started tenth and finished sixth in a Tri-Point Mazda 6.  James Clay qualified and started seventh and finished seventh in a Bimmerworld BMW 328i.  Toby Grahovec gave Realtime Acura four of the top eight positions with his eighth-place finish from an eleventh-place start in his TSX.  Nick Esayian completed the lead-lap finishers in ninth after starting ninth in his Bimmerworld BMW 328i.  Seth Thomas qualified second in the other Bimmerworld BMW 328i and started fourth but retired on the first lap with mechanical problems.

2009 MOSPORT

Jason Daskalos scored his career-first World Challenge victory with a win in the 2009 Mosport GT race driving his Daskalos Developments Dodge Viper.  Daskalos qualified fourth and started second due to a top five qualifying inversion; he led every lap of the 30-lap race, winning by only 0.682 second over runnerup and Fast Qualifier (but fifth starter) Brandon Davis in a Davis Racing Ford Mustang Cobra.  Davis’ runnerup finish extended his 2009 GT point leadership!

Daskalos is the 124th driver to win a World Challenge race and the third first-time winner in 2009.   Sebring 2009 produced two first-time winners: Seth Thomas in Touring Car and Tony Rivera in GT.

Tony Rivera finished third after starting seventh in his Porsche 911 GT3.  Andy Pilgrim started third and finished fourth in his K-Pax Racing Volvo S60; he also set the race’s Fast Lap!  Eric Curran qualified second and started fourth in his Whelen Chevrolet Corvette and finished fifth as five marques finished in the top five!

Dino Crescentini started and finished sixth in his Global Porsche 911 GT3 and Sonny Whelen equaled his career-best result with a seventh-place finish from an eighth-place start in his Chevrolet Corvette.  Randy Pobst qualified fifth but started on the pole; he finished eighth in his K-Pax Racing Volvo S60.  James Sofronas completed the lead-lap finishers with a ninth-place finish from a ninth-place start in his Global Porsche 911 GT3.

The GT series achieved a five-race streak without a repeat winner dating back to Brandon Davis’ victory in the 2008 Road Atlanta finale with the 2009 Mosport result.

Realtime Racing had not won a World Challenge Touring Car race since the 2008 Mid-Ohio victory by Kuno Wittmer, a five-race winless streak also marking five Touring Car races without a repeat-winning driver!  Realtime and Kuno Wittmer ended both streaks with a victory in 2009 Mosport Touring Car race one as Wittmer led a 1-2-3 Realtime sweep of the podium!  The 1-2 or Better Entrant finish was a World Challenge-record 21st for Realtime!

Wittmer qualified and started second (no qualifying inversion) in his Realtime Acura TSX and led all twenty-eight laps of race one to win by 19.035 seconds over runnerup and Realtime teammate Pierre Kleinubing (started fourth) and third-place finisher and Realtime teammate and brother Nick Wittmer!  Wittmer started eleventh and finished on the podium in his first World Challenge start!  Kuno Wittmer’s win was his fourth in World Challenge competition, ranking tied for twenty-ninth all-time.

2009 Touring Car point leader Jason Saini maintained his point lead with a fourth-place finish from a fifth-place start in his Tri-Point Mazda 6.  Realtime Acura TSX driver Peter Cunningham started seventh and finished fifth.

Eric Foss was Fast Qualifier for the first time in his World Challenge career and started from the pole in his Tri-Point Mazda 6; he set Fast Lap en route to a sixth-place finish.

Charles Espenlaub completed the lead-lap finishers with a seventh-place finish from a sixth-place start in his Tri-Point Mazda 6.  All eleven starters finished 2009 Mosport Touring Car race one!

Realtime completed a sweep of the 2009 Mosport Touring Car races by winning race two as Peter Cunningham qualified fifth but started from the pole due to a qualifying inversion and led flag-to-flag to win the 28-lap race by 0.564 second over runnerup Charles Espenlaub, the third-place starter in a Tri-Point Mazda 6.  Espenlaub also set the race’s Fast Lap.  Point leader Jason Saini extended his lead with a third-place finish from a runnerup start (qualified fourth) in his Tri-Point Mazda 6.  Cunningham’s win was his World Challenge all-time leading 32nd but his first since 2007 Laguna Seca.

Seth Thomas finished fourth after starting eighth in his BimmerWorld BMW 328i as he posted BMW’s best result of the weekend!  Pierre Kleinubing put a second Realtime Acura TSX in the top five as he finished fifth after starting fourth (qualified second).  Race one winner Kuno Wittmer started seventh and finished sixth and Nick Wittmer started eleventh and finished seventh.  Nick Esayian finished eighth after starting tenth in a BimmerWorld BMW 328i.

Eric Foss was Fast Qualifier again but this time started fifth; he finished ninth, the final car on the lead lap!

Realtime’s two wins brought the team’s World Challenge-record win total to 65!

With Cunningham’s victory, the Touring Car series achieved a seven-race streak (dating back to James Clay’s 2008 Road America win) without a repeat-winning driver!

2009 WATKINS GLEN

Dino Crescentini scored his second career World Challenge victory with a win in the 2009 Watkins Glen GT race driving a Global Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3.  Crescentini qualified fourth and started second due to a top five qualifying inversion; he led the final eighteen laps of the 22-lap race, winning by only 0.255 second over runnerup Eric Curran in a Whelen Chevrolet Corvette.  Curran qualified second and started fourth.

Crescentini’s win was his second, joining a 2005 GT victory at Portland, and came in his 52nd start.  Crescentini also set the race’s Fastest Lap!

James Sofronas finished third after qualifying third and starting third in the other Global Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3; he led the first four laps of the race.  K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 drivers Randy Pobst and Andy Pilgrim finished fourth and fifth after starting sixth and seventh, respectively. 

Jason Daskalos qualified fifth and started on the pole due to the inversion; he finished sixth in his Dodge Viper.  Tony Rivera started ninth and finished seventh in his Porsche 911 GT3.  Brandon Davis was Fast Qualifier but started fifth due to the inversion in his Ford Mustang Cobra and finished eighth.  Gunter Schaldach started his Lala Motorsports Dodge Viper tenth and finished ninth, the final car on the lead lap.

The GT series achieved a six-race streak without a repeat-winning driver dating back to Brandon Davis’ victory in the 2008 Road Atlanta finale.

Seth Thomas became the first driver in 2009 World Challenge competition to win two races with his victory in the 2009 Watkins Glen Touring Car race; he also won the 2009 Sebring Touring Car season-opener!  Thomas now has two wins in 55 World Challenge starts.

Thomas was Fast Qualifier for the first time in his World Challenge career, started from the pole (no inversion) and led flag-to-flag throughout the twenty-lap race in his Bimmerworld BMW 328i!  Seth finished 1.118 seconds ahead of runnerup (and second-starting) Charles Espenlaub in a Tri-Point Mazda 6.

Andrew Aquilante started fifth and finished third in his Phoenix Performance Subaru WRX as three marques and entrants finished on the podium!  Aquilante also set Fast Lap in the race, the first such honor of his World Challenge career!  Nick Esayian posted his career-best World Challenge result by finishing fourth after starting third in his Bimmerworld BMW 328i as only Bimmerworld among entrants and BMW among marques placed two cars in the top four!

Realtime Acura TSX entries finished fifth, sixth, and seventh in the order Peter Cunningham-Pierre Kleinubing-Kuno Wittmer; they started seventh, fourth, and ninth, respectively.

2009 Touring Car point leader Jason Saini maintained his point lead with an eighth-place finish from an eighth-place start in his Tri-Point Mazda 6.  Saini’s lead, however, is now only three points over Kleinubing and six over Thomas!  Mazda, Acura, and BMW are thus represented in the top three in the point standings!

2009 AUTOBAHN

Randy Pobst scored his first 2009 World Challenge victory with a win in the 2009 Autobahn GT race driving a K-Pax Racing Volvo S60.  Pobst qualified and started second and led the first seven and last eight laps of the sixteen-lap race, ceding the lead for only one lap (on lap eight to Tony Rivera) and setting the race’s Fast Lap en route to winning by only 1.793 seconds over runnerup Brandon Davis in a Davis Racing Ford Mustang Cobra.  Davis started sixth.  Pobst’s win was the twenty-second of his World Challenge career and came in his 92nd career start!  He is now tied for fourth ranking all-time in World Challenge wins with Lou Gigliotti!

Brian Kubinski finished a career-best third after starting ninth in his Chevrolet Corvette as three marques and entrants finished on the podium!

Pobst’s K-Pax Volvo teammate Andy Pilgrim started and finished fourth as K-Pax was the only entrant and Volvo the only marque to place two cars in the Autobahn GT top five!  Tony Rivera finished fifth in his Porsche 911 GT3 after starting third and leading lap eight as Porsche was the fourth marque in the top five.

James Sofronas was Fast Qualifier, earning the first such honor of his World Challenge career, and started on pole; he finished sixth in his Global Motorsports Group Porsche 911 GT3.  Rob Morgan finished a career-best seventh after starting eleventh in his Porsche.  Jeff Courtney started his Woodhouse Dodge Viper fifteenth but finished eighth, his best result of 2009.  Nick Mancuso made his World Challenge debut in the Lake Forest Sportscars Aston Martin DB9, starting seventeenth and finishing ninth.  William Ziegler completed the top ten in his Porsche 911 GT3.

Thirteen cars finished on the lead lap.

The GT series achieved a seven-race streak without a repeat-winning driver dating back to Brandon Davis’ victory in the 2008 Road Atlanta finale.

Jason Saini became the second driver in 2009 World Challenge competition to win two races (joining Seth Thomas) with his victory in the 2009 Autobahn Touring Car race; he also won the 2009 Thunderbolt Touring Car race as both of his 2009 wins have come in the first appearance of the Touring Car class at the venue!  Saini now has three wins in only sixteen World Challenge starts!

Saini was Fast Qualifier for the first time in 2009 and second time in his World Challenge career, started from the pole (no inversion) and led flag-to-flag throughout the seventeen-lap race in his Tri-Point Mazda 6, finishing 1.149 seconds ahead of runnerup Peter Cunningham in a Realtime Acura TSX.  Cunningham started fourth and also set the race’s Fast Lap.  Pierre Kleinubing started his Realtime Acura TSX sixth and finished third.

Charles Espenlaub started his Tri-Point Mazda 6 fifth and finished fourth.  James Clay posted his first Top Five finish of 2009 by finishing fifth after starting ninth in his Bimmerworld BMW 328i as three marques and entrants finished in the top five.

Eric Foss started second but finished sixth in his Tri-Point Mazda 6.  Nick Esayian started tenth and finished seventh in his Bimmerworld BMW 328i.  Realtime Acura TSX entries finished eighth, ninth, and tenth driven by Kuno Wittmer and World Challenge debut drivers Joel Weinberger and Robert Roth. Ten cars finished on the lead lap.

2009 MID-OHIO

Brandon Davis scored his first 2009 World Challenge victory with a win in the 2009 Mid-Ohio GT race driving his Davis Racing Ford Mustang Cobra; Davis last won in the 2008 GT season finale.   Davis qualified and started first and led the entire twenty-nine lap race en route to winning by only 1.396 seconds over runnerup and fourth-starting Tony Rivera in his Brass Monkey/Mirage Group Porsche 911 GT3.  Davis’ win was the fourth of his World Challenge career and came in his 53rd career start!  Davis now ranks tied for 29th on the All-Time World Challenge Racewinners list!

James Sofronas started and finished third in his Global Motorsports Group Porsche 911 GT3.

Randy Pobst started sixteenth and last in his K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 and rose to fourth at the finish.  Dino Crescentini started and finished fifth in a Global Motorsports Group Porsche 911 GT3 as Global was the only Entrant with two finishers in the Top Five and Porsche placed three cars in the Top Five.

Woodhouse Dodge Vipers finished sixth and seventh as Jeff Courtney started his tenth and finished sixth and Charles Putman started his eighth and finished seventh.  Tony Gaples came from eleventh starting position in the Blackdog Racing Chevrolet Corvette to finish eighth, the highest-placed Corvette!  Gunter Schaldach started the Lala Motorsports Dodge Viper twelfth and finished ninth.  Sonny Whelen finished tenth after starting fourteenth in his Chevrolet Corvette.

Eleven cars finished on the lead lap.

The GT series achieved a seven-race streak without a repeat-winning driver encompassing the entire 2009 season!  This streak ranks tied for third all-time in World Challenge competition.  The second-ranking streak of eight races was posted in the T2 class from 1995 Lime Rock through 1996 Phoenix.  The all-time record of nine races without a repeat winner was posted in the GT class, from 2005 Cleveland through 2006 St. Petersburg!

Jason Saini became the first driver in 2009 World Challenge competition to win three races and the first driver in 2009 World Challenge competition to score consecutive victories with his victory in the 2009 Mid-Ohio Touring Car race!  Saini now has four wins in only seventeen World Challenge starts!  He now ranks tied for 29th on the All-Time World Challenge Racewinners list!

Saini started eighth and took the lead on lap twelve, leading the final sixteen laps of the twenty-seven lap race in his Tri-Point Mazda 6, finishing 4.719 seconds ahead of runnerup Peter Cunningham in a Realtime Acura TSX.  Cunningham started third.  Pierre Kleinubing started ninth in his Realtime Acura TSX and finished third, also setting Fast Lap.  The “podium” was identical to the Autobahn result.

Saini’s start from eighth ranked tied for thirteenth all-time in World Challenge competition and marked the lowest starting position for a Touring Car racewinner since the 2002 VIR Touring Car race, won by Pierre Kleinubing from ninth starting position!

Seth Thomas took BMW’s best finish, starting sixth and finishing fourth in his Bimmerworld 328i.  Patrick Lindsey posted his career-best finish by taking fifth after starting second in a Horton Autosport Mazda 6 in his 2009 World Challenge debut. Four entrants and three marques finished in the Top Five.

Nick Esayian started tenth and finished sixth in his BimmerWorld BMW 328i.  Kuno Wittmer started his Realtime Acura TSX fourth and finished seventh.  Charles Espenlaub was Fast Qualifier for the third time in his World Challenge career and started on the pole in his Tri-Point Mazda 6; he led the first eleven laps and finished eighth.  Eric Foss started his Tri-Point Mazda 6 fifth and finished ninth.  Branden Peterson made his 2009 debut in a Realtime Acura TSX, starting thirteenth and finished tenth, two laps down; the result marked his career-best finish.  Nine cars finished on the lead lap.

2009 ROAD AMERICA

Tony Rivera scored his second 2009 World Challenge GT victory with a win in the 2009 Road America GT race driving his Brass Monkey Porsche 911 GT3.  Rivera became the first two-time winner in 2009 GT; he also won the season opener at Sebring!  Rivera qualified and started third and led the entire nineteen lap race as he took the lead at the start when polesitter and Fast Qualifier James Sofronas stalled with axle failure in his Global Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3.  Sofronas returned to the race after repairs but placed fifteenth.  Rivera set Fast Lap in the race and won by 7.268 seconds over runnerup Eric Curran in a Whelen Chevrolet Corvette.  Curran started fifth.  Sixth-starting Dino Crescentini finished third in a Global Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 as Porsche took two of the three podium positions.

Point leader Brandon Davis started and finished fourth in his Davis Racing Ford Mustang Cobra.  Jason Daskalos started eleventh and finished fifth in his Dodge Viper.  Randy Pobst started seventh and finished sixth in a K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 as five marques and six entrants finished in the top six!

Thirteen cars finished on the lead lap.  Fourteen of seventeen starters finished, or 82.35%.

Pierre Kleinubing scored his first 2009 World Challenge victory with a win in the 2009 Road America Touring Car race.  The victory was his 28th in 128 World Challenge starts, second-ranking to Peter Cunningham’s 32!  Pierre started his Realtime Acura TSX third after qualifying third and led the final twelve laps of the 17-lap race, winning by 1.535 seconds over runnerup Charles Espenlaub in a Tri-Point Mazda 6.  Espenlaub was Fast Qualifier but started fifth due to the top five start inversion; he set Fast Lap en route to his runnerup finish.

Patrick Lindsey finished a career-best third after qualifying second and starting fourth in his Horton Autosport Mazda 6 as three entrants finished on the podium!  Point leader Jason Saini started second after qualifying fourth in his Tri-Point Mazda 6.  Eric Foss started sixth and finished fifth in his Tri-Point Mazda 6 as Mazda took four of the top five finishing positions and Tri-Point placed three cars in the top five!

Peter Cunningham started seventh and finished sixth in his Realtime Acura TSX.  James Clay and Seth Thomas finished seventh and eighth after starting eighth and tenth in their Bimmerworld BMW 328i racers.  Nine cars finished on the lead lap.

Kuno Wittmer qualified his Realtime Acura TSX fifth and started on the pole; he led the first five laps before a mechanical problem caused his eventual tenth-place finish, one lap down.

2009 ROAD ATLANTA

Andy Pilgrim scored his second 2009 World Challenge GT victory with a win in the 2009 Road Atlanta GT race driving his K-Pax Racing Volvo S60.  Pilgrim became the second two-time winner in 2009 GT, joining Tony Rivera; Pilgrim also won the third race of 2009 at Thunderbolt!  Pilgrim qualified second and started fourth and led the entire twenty-nine lap race, winning by 6.467 seconds over runnerup Eric Curran in a Whelen Chevrolet Corvette.  Curran qualified fourth, started second, and set Fast Lap.

Point leader Brandon Davis started from the pole after qualifying fifth due to the top five qualifying inversion; he finished third in his Davis Racing Ford Mustang GT.  Tony Rivera qualified and started sixth and finished fourth in his Brass Monkey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 as four Entrants and four marques finished in the top four spots!

James Sofronas qualified and started third in his Global Motorsports Group Porsche 911 GT3 and finished fifth.  Boris Said started eighth in his Davis Racing Ford Mustang Cobra and finished sixth.  Jeff Courtney started twelfth and finished seventh in his Dodge Viper as five marques finished in the top seven.  Spencer Pumpelly started seventh and finished tenth in his TRG Mercedes SLR 722 GT, the sixth marque in the Top Ten!  Fourteen cars finished on the lead lap.

Seth Thomas scored his third 2009 World Challenge victory (tying Jason Saini for the most of any driver in either class in 2009!) with a win in the 2009 Road Atlanta Touring Car race.  Seth started his BimmerWorld BMW 328i third after qualifying third and led the final thirteen laps of the 27-lap race, winning by 1.692 seconds over runnerup and Bimmerworld teammate James Clay in another 328i!  Clay was Fast Qualifier but started fifth due to a top five qualifying inversion; he set the race’s Fast Lap en route to the runnerup spot!  The Fast Qualifier honor was the first of Clay’s World Challenge career!  Bimmerworld 328i entries completed a 1-2-3 “podium sweep” with Nick Esayian finishing third after starting from the pole as fifth-fastest qualifier; the result was Esayian’s career-best finish and first “podium” finish!  Esayian led the first fourteen laps before Thomas took over the top spot.

Bimmerworld’s 1-2-3 Entrant finish was only the twelfth 1-2-3 or Better Entrant Finish in World Challenge history!  The record, a 1-2-3-4 Entrant finish, is held by PTG BMW in the 2003 Sears Point GT race.  Ten previous 1-2-3 Entrant finishes have been achieved: four apiece by Archer Racing and Realtime, one each by Cadillac Racing and Gigliotti Racing.  Bimmerworld is the sixth Entrant to achieve a 1-2-3 or Better Entrant finish!  The most recent previous 1-2-3 Entrant finish came in the 2008 Sebring Touring Car race, scored by Realtime Racing!

Kuno Wittmer started second after qualifying fourth in his Realtime Acura TSX and finished fourth, leading the Realtime entries.  Eric Foss qualified second and started fourth in his Tri-Point Mazda 6 and finished fifth, the first of the Mazda finishers as three Entrants and marques finished in the top five.

Peter Cunningham started seventh and finished sixth in his Realtime Acura TSX.  Point leader Jason Saini started his Tri-Point Mazda 6 eighth and finished eighth.  Pierre Kleinubing, second in points, lost ground to Saini as he started ninth and finished tenth, one lap down, in his Realtime Acura TSX.  Nine cars finished on the lead lap.

2009 LAGUNA SECA

James Sofronas scored his second 2009 World Challenge GT victory with a win in the 2009 Laguna Seca GT race driving his Global Motorsports Group Porsche 911 GT3.  Sofronas became the third two-time winner in 2009 GT, joining Tony Rivera and Andy Pilgrim.  Sofronas also won the second race of 2009 at Long Beach!  Sofronas qualified fourth and started second due to a Top Five qualifying inversion; he set Fast Lap and led the final twenty-four laps of the twenty-eight lap race, winning by 4.297 seconds over runnerup Randy Pobst in a K-Pax Volvo S60.  Pobst started sixth.  Eric Curran started his Whelen Chevrolet Corvette eighth and finished third.

Point leader Brandon Davis started from the pole after qualifying fifth (due to the top five qualifying inversion) and led the first four laps of the race; he finished fourth in his Davis Racing Ford Mustang GT and clinched the 2009 GT title.   Four marques from four Entrants finished in the top four!

Andy Pilgrim started eleventh and finished fifth in the other K-Pax Volvo S60 as K-Pax and Volvo were the only Entrant and marque to place two cars in the Top Five!

Tony Rivera qualified his Brass Monkey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 second and started fourth; he retired one lap short of the finish, placing seventeenth and ceding second in the 2009 GT point standings to Sofronas.

Boris Said was Fast Qualifier in a Davis Racing Ford Mustang Cobra and started fifth; he finished fifteenth, on the lead lap.  Sixteen cars finished on the lead lap.

Pierre Kleinubing scored his second 2009 World Challenge victory (joining three-race winners Jason Saini and Seth Thomas as a multi-race winner in 2009) with a win in the 2009 Laguna Seca Touring Car race.  Kleinubing was Fast Qualifier, started on the pole, and led the entire twenty-six lap race.  Kleinubing won by 0.610 second over teammate Peter Cunningham as the Realtime Acura TSX duo finished 1-2, giving Realtime its World Challenge-record 22nd 1-2 or Better Entrant finish!  Cunningham started third.  James Clay started his Bimmerworld BMW 328i second, set Fast Lap, and finished third.

Jason Saini, the 2009 Touring Car point leader from race two through race nine, started and finished eighth.  Saini led the point standings by 54 points entering the finale but lost the title to Kleinubing by 13 points!  Cunningham finished third in points.

Fifteen cars finished on the lead lap and sixteen of the eighteen starters finished, or 88.89%.

Leave a Reply