Sports Car Wars Resume

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SCCA Pro Racing’s Pirelli World Challenge returns to the streets of downtown Saint Petersburg, Florida for two races, on Saturday and Sunday. Friday practices were followed by a late-afternoon race-qualifying session.

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Alex Figge, driving one of K-PAX Racing’s Volvo S60s, set a qualifying-time record of 1 minute, 13.9 seconds, averaging 87.6 mph on downtown Saint Pete’s 14-turn, 1.8-mile course. Figge edged his teammate Randy Pobst, who will start race one alongside him on the front row.
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Figge remarked, “On a street course, it’s nice to have the all-wheel drive for sure. There’s a lot of horsepower talk in this series, and obviously grip makes a big difference, too. Anytime you can out-qualify Randy Pobst, as well, it’s really good. He’s one of the best in the business, so it’s always nice to be able to do that.”
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Scotsman Ryan Dalziel, who has settled with his wife into Windermere, Florida, and has many Floridians following his exploits in three sports car racing series, qualified third-fastest in the #46 Privacy Star/ENTRUST Porsche 911 GT3
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Starting the first race beside Dalziel will be James Sofronas in the #14 GMG/Mobil 1 Audi R8.
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2012 Pirelli World Challenge Driver’s Champion Johnny O’Connell, qualified the #3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R fifth-fastest. As a longtime sports car racer and champion, and a southerner residing in Flowery Branch, Georgia, O’Connell has a sizable fan base in the South, including Saint Petersburg.
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Saint Petersburg racing fans lined the fences of the temporary street course winding through downtown and around Al Lang Stadium to watch practice and qualifying sessions. They marveled at the deep-throated roars of Pirelli World Challenge’s V-8 racers, including the twin Cadillac CTS-V.Rs of O’Connell and teammate Andy Pilgrim, assorted Chevrolet Camaros, and Ford Mustang FR500s.
Another Florida favorite, Lawson Aschenbach, of Jupiter, who has raced Porsche 911s for years, starts the 2013 season in the #10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro.
Race One of the Pirelli World Challenge Championships takes the green flag in a rolling start at 5 p.m. (Eastern). Race Two will have a ‘standing start’ (although the racers are seated) on Sunday at 10:25 a.m. (Eastern).
The races’ video and audio will be streamed live on the Internet at www.World-ChallengeTV.com. If you miss those, replay anytime on demand on the website or tune in to NBC Sports Network on Sunday, April 7 at 12:30 p.m. (Eastern).