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Sofronas Scores Podium to Stay in Championship Hunt Following World Challenge Action at Mid-Ohio
by Frank A. Filipponio | Aug 08, 2011

Following an exciting double-header at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, GMG’s James Soforonas is just 44 points behind series championship leader Patrick Long in SCCA Pro Pirelli World Challenge Championship. In Saturday’s race, it was Alex Figge who scored his first World Challenge win, taking the GT Class and overall victory at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix Presented by StopTech in his No. 9 K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 AWD. TruSpeed’s Patrick Long (No. 45) and GMG’s James Sofronas (No. 14) completed the top three in their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars. 

In GTS, point leader Paul Brown captured his third GTS win of the season in his No. 50 Lucas Oil/K&N Filters/Wellendorf Ford Mustang Boss 302S, followed by Eric Foss in the No. 73 Traxxas/St. Jude Hospital/SPX Ford Mustang FR500S and Jason von Kluge in the No. 19 JDK/Varsity Ford/Steeda Ford Mustang Boss 302S, who finished second and third respectively. Brown was able to extend his points lead to 72.

Meanwhile in TC, Robb Holland earned his first-career Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car win in his No. 66 K-PAX Racing Volvo C30 on Saturday. He was followed to the podium by Lawson Aschenbach (No. 71 Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si) and Brett Sandberg in the No. 70 Compass360 Honda Civic Si. Sandberg earned the Sunoco Hard Charger for advancing 12 positions in tying his career-best third-place finish.

On Sunday, Cadillac Racing’s Johnny O’Connell took advantage of a last-lap incident between the lead two cars to earn the manufacturer’s first Pirelli World Challenge win since 2007. Paul Brown and Aaron Povoledo earned the GTS and Touring Car class wins, respectively, at Sunday’s Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio presented by StopTech.

O’Connell started seventh in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, but took advantage of last lap contact between polesitter Alex Figge and Mike Skeen to claim the win, followed by CRP Racing’s Patrick Lindsey ( No. 12 CRP/Hawk Chevrolet Corvette), and defending GT Champion Randy Pobst finished third in the No. 6 K-Pax Racing Volvo S60. With a fourth-place finish in the No. 45 Privacy Star/TruSpeed Porsche 911 GT3, Patrick Long extended his GT Championship lead to 44 points over James Sofronas, 840-796.

Saturday’s race winner, Paul Brown, had to survive a very physical battle to claim the GTS win on Sunday. His No. 50 Lucas Oil/K&N Filters/Wellendorf Ford Mustang Boss 302S battled side-by-side with Eric Foss before contact between the two let Ben Crosland whip around the outside of the pair and take the lead. That move earned Crosland the Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race.

Brown recovered to chase down Crosland and take the lead, eventually taking the win over defending GTS Class champion and Mid-Ohio race winner Peter Cunningham who earned his best finish since Round Two at St. Petersburg in the No. 1 Acura/RealTime Racing Acura TSX. Crosland, after losing the lead, battled back to finish third in the No. 25 InterbankFX/RaceWithRP.com Ford Mustang FR500S. The finish was the fourth podium in five races for the 18-year-old driver.

Back in TC action, Povoledo’s Touring Car victory appeared easy. The polesitter led start to finish in the No. 88 K-Pax Racing Volvo C30 for his second win of the season, matching teammate Robb Holland’s victory from the opening race of the twin bill. Holland held off Touring Car Championship leader Lawson Aschenbach’s No. 71 Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si for second place on Sunday, with Aschenbach completing the podium.

Branden Peterson earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award in the No. 64 Branden Peterson Racing Honda Civic Si after moving up 11 positions during the race.

Aschenbach’s 1010 points this season give him a sizeable lead in the Touring Car Drivers’ Championship, over Povoledo (864), Holland (726), Ron Zitza (622) and Herbert (592).

Team StopTech’s Stephen Ruiz scored a ninth place finish in Saturday’s opener but a mechanical issue kept this rookie from an even more impressive finish on Sunday in the No. 41 StopTech/GMG Porsche.

Credit: World Challenge, Images: Mark Weber, Ryan Kim

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