Last weekend’s World Challenge event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was a tough, but rewarding one for GTS class points leader, Paul Brown, of Covina, CA. Brown took the top step of the podium in each of the weekend’s double header events.
Starting from P2 in Saturday’s race, Brown pushed his #50 Mustang Boss 302S past polesitter and defending GTS Champion, Peter Cunningham driving the #1 Acura TSX, at the start and led the entire race to the checkered flag.
“We got a really good start and PD [Cunningham] was a gentleman on the outside,” Brown said. “We went through two-wide in Turn 1 and got a little bit ahead. As soon as we got the caution, it was like ‘crap’. We knew it was going to be tough and we were hoping it wasn’t going to go that way because you don’t get the rhythm.”
Eric Foss, driving the #73 Mustang FR500S and Jason von Kluge, in the #19 Mustang FR500S, filled out the podium steps for an all-Mustang sweep.
The win kept Brown out front in the the Pirelli GTS Championship, with 846 points. Eric Foss follows with 774 and Utah native, Ben Crosland, is in third, with 687.
Overnight showers left the track drying as GTS qualifying ran on Sunday morning. In the end, Udell, became the youngest polesitter in World Challenge history in the #06 Momentum Autosport Chevrolet Camaro.
“It feels really, really great,” Udell said. “I have to thank my team, they worked all night to get that setup perfect today. Every lap the track got a little bit better. I was working on trying to find that dry line out there, and some of the corners were completely wet and some were dry. You had to work with what you had.”
Eric Foss would start beside Udell in the #73 Mustang FR500S, with Paul Brown one place back in his #50 Mustang BOSS 302S. Brown would have to work a lot harder to get to the front this time around. Swapping paint with Foss on lap six let Ben Crosland move ahead of the pair and into the lead, as encountered mechanical problems early on.
Crosland led for 17 laps until Brown passed him for the lead. From there, it was a repeat of the previous day’s dominant performance. Defending class champion, Peter Cunninghan, took the green next, followed by Crosland. who gained his fourth podium finish in five races.
“The race was kind of a blur,” Brown said. “There was a lot of stuff going on. I just tried to put the pressure on Eric [Foss]. I didn’t think we had a car strong enough to win today.”
The win gives Brown a commanding lead in the points tally, now showing an even 1000 points, 124 ahead of Eric Foss and 205 in front of Crosland. Four races remain in the series, which heads west for another double header at Infineon Raceway, on August 26-28. A mid-September challenge at Laguna Seca, followed by an east coast return for the Petit Le Mans weekend in October will wrap up the 12-round Pirelli World Challenge series for 2011.