The #171 VW DriverGear GTI MK6 Maintains Championship Points Lead While the Perfect Pedal Audi S4 Achieves Best Showing to Date and the #181 GTI MK6 Scores an 8th Place Finish
Ian Baas and Ryan Ellis keep their Championship fight alive by finishing in 4th place on the tight and technical Barber Motorsports Park track throughout a tough race that was plagued with cautions. Kevin and Chris Gleason, Jr are finding podium pace as each event puts valuable experience under their belts and showed amazing patience while the rest of the field was engaged in race ending maneuvers for some, due to the difficult passing opportunities at Barber.
Todd Lamb and Skip Brock joined APR Motorsport for the thrill of racing at Barber in APR’s #161 GTI MK5. Their race ended early despite moments of brilliance by Todd and Skip that could have been an opportunity for a great showing from the 3rd VW in the ST class. “Who could pass up a chance to race at Barber Motorsports Park with APR? Even though our race ended early, Skip and I thoroughly enjoyed our weekend and look forward to another opportunity in the future.”
The Perfect Pedal Audi S4 finished 12th, the best showing so far, as the team struggled to find the podium pace from last year due to an unfavorable rules package for the S4. Gary Gibson and Josh Hurley didn’t put a single shoe wrong the entire race only to find the V8 cars were seemingly in another class all their own.
As APR Motorsport arrived for their home race in Birmingham, AL, a mere 2 hour drive from APR’s world headquarters, the reality of a long, hot summer race schedule began to set in as track temps climbed above 90 degrees in the Alabama sun. APR Motorsport entered the weekend with hopes of keeping their Championship bid alive in ST while fighting for their first podium in GS with the Audi S4 after running 2nd at Barber last year. As the GTI’s and S4 were unloaded and the team began setting up the paddock and the first practice session was run, Director of Motorsport, Jeff Mishtawy, quickly realized that after last week’s further competition adjustments from GRAND-AM, continuing the winning streak of the #171 GTI may not be possible on the very tight and difficult to pass Barber track. Jeff was thinking long term and began refining a secondary strategy of keeping the car healthy and finishing in the Top Ten in order to focus on better opportunities in the remainder of this year’s schedule.
For Gary Gibson and Josh Hurley, the Audi’s chances to secure the podium that slipped away for the S4 in 2010 at Barber began to evaporate as each practice proved the car was simply unable to keep up with the Mustangs and BMW’s that have enjoyed an opportunity to clearly separate themselves from the rest of the GS field with such a huge advantage over the other makes in competition. Gary and Josh provided very little suggestion to the team regarding setup as the car handled and braked as best it can. Gary relayed, “The PerfectPedal S4 was simply perfect in every way. As Josh and I fought for every inch during the race, it was apparent our Audi needs some help from the governing body.”
Chris, Jr and Kevin Gleason found themselves dealing with difficult tire wear and continual bumps and rubs from the other competitors as the heat began to frazzle some of the other drivers’ nerves and the race nearly degraded into a bumper car ride at the amusement park. Although they may be rookies in the CTSCC, both Gleasons displayed incredible cool under pressure and kept the VW DriverGear GTI safe and sound to finish in 8th. Kevin relayed, “It was a good race for Chris, Jr and I. We were able to avoid emotional reactions to what the other competitors brought to the race and kept the car out of the onslaught of mishaps that created so many cautions. APR Motorsport gave us another great car and Chris, Jr and I are looking forward to the crazy schedule coming up in the next few months. Go APR!”
Mission Accomplished is the predominant feeling from the APR Motorsport team as success was had all around considering the environment and insurmountable challenges faced at the Barber 200. The PerfectPedal Audi S4 may as well have been a podium considering how disadvantaged the #91 car is in comparison to the competition and the flawless level to which Josh Hurley and Gary Gibson drove the entire race. Kevin and Chris Gleason, Jr continue to prove their talent, patience and attention to detail as they finished in 8th despite a very aggressive field. The best results hail from the #171 VW DriverGear GTI MK6 as Ian and Ryan continue to lead in season points for the Manufacturer, Team and Driver Championships. Ryan Ellis increased his lead in the race for Rookie of the Year where he enjoys an almost insurmountable advantage after only three races into the season.
Next on the schedule is the Bosch Engineering 200 at VIR on May 13 -14. To catch all of the action from the Barber 200, tune in to SpeedTV this Saturday April 16th at 2pm ET.