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APR Motorsport Beats the Other VW’s – and Mustangs – at Mid-Ohio

APR Motorsport Beats the Other VW’s – and Mustangs – at Mid-Ohio

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Ian Baas Lands on Touring Car Podium With Last Lap Heroics at Cadillac Grand Prix Presented by Stoptech

August 7, 2012 (Opelika, Ala.) – APR Motorsport’s Ian Baas survived heavy rain, a drive-through penalty, and wayward GT cars in the Pirelli World Challenge Championships’ Cadillac Grand Prix Presented by Stoptech at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to claim a podium spot on Sunday, in the second of two Pirelli World Challenge races, in his no. 49 APR VW GTI.

In Saturday’s race, the team elected to put Baas’ no. 49 APR VW GTI on a very aggressive boost map, while taking a more conservative approach with teammate Alex Popow’s no. 94 APR VW GTI. Baas drove to third in that race – miles behind a similar VW Jetta GLI – before his car was found to have exceeded the World Challenge boost limit, and was removed from the results. Not surprisingly, the VW Jetta that originally won the race was also disqualified. Popow, who struggled with a transmission issue in the second half of the race, would end up in fourth position and set the race’s fastest lap in Touring Car – and the fastest of any VW.

The team was thrown another curve ball when Popow needed to leave the event quickly on Sunday morning, leaving APR Motorsport in need of a driver. The team found a guy named Robb Holland, who met APR Motorsport’s driver criteria (he had a helmet and experience in VW’s) and put him into the no. 94 APR VW GTI. With the driver substitution, APR Motorsport’s two VW’s would make up the last row of the fifty-four car field, which would take the green flag in rainy conditions.

Baas and Holland made great starts around the 2.2-mile circuit, passing several of their Touring Car competitors and all of the GTS-class Ford Mustangs on the opening lap before a full-course caution forced them to circle behind the pace car for nine laps. Once underway again, the two APR Motorsport VW GTI’s raced forward to the top-five in Touring Car until Baas was forced to serve a penalty for avoidable contact. After a drive-through, Baas raced forward again, catching a battle on the final lap between the third and fourth-placed cars in Touring Car who were doing battle with a GT car. When the three tripped up on each other, Baas was able to capitalize and put the no. 49 APR VW GTI on the podium.

“What a crazy couple of days,” said Baas. “We knew we were going to be right on the edge with our boost on Saturday, and yet there was no way we could keep up with that VW Jetta in a straight line. Imagine my surprise when they were DQ’d! Sunday’s race was going to be wild with all the rain. I really don’t think I deserved that avoidable contact penalty – I was pretty upset about it – so I just put my head down and drove as hard as I could. Luckily we got some breaks in traffic and things kind of fell into place on the last lap with a GT car getting mixed up with the other Touring Cars. I’m glad we were able to get on the podium and keep it on Sunday. The car was great on both days, in the dry and in the rain – another solid weekend by the APR Motorsport guys.”

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“I was really disappointed to leave Mid-Ohio because I was really looking forward to the second race,” said Popow. “The car was very fast but when the transmission started to go away I really started to struggle. Obviously, the crew fixed it and it was very fast because it was in third spot for most of the race on Sunday. Hopefully I can drive with APR Motorsport in some more World Challenge races in the future.”

Holland, a former Touring Car race winner, would finish in sixth – a strong result considering his only experience in the no. 94 APR VW GTI was checking to make sure the radio worked before driving to the grid. Holland ran in the third spot throughout most of the race until his rain tires fell off in the final laps. It ended up being a valuable experience for Holland, who will travel to England this weekend to become the first American in 37 years to compete in a British Touring Car Championship race.

“I wasn’t in a big hurry to get to the track, because I didn’t have anything planned in the morning,” said Holland. “Then Jeff (Misthawy, Director of Competition for APR Motorsport) found me. I thought he didn’t like me. Next thing I knew I was on track, in the rain, in a car I had never driven before, and Jeff told me to bring it back without a scratch because it has to race again in a few weeks. Unbelievable! But, at least he did a great job on the radio feeding information to me. I was able to feel out the car a bit on the warm-up lap, but the conditions were changing so it required a real soft touch on the first few laps. I got a real good start and made up some positions right away but I was always looking around – with the rain there is always potential for carnage and I wanted to avoid it. We ran in third for most of the race but the tires fell off a bit in the final laps. But it was fun and Jeff wasn’t too upset with how the car looked after the race, and it was actually a great warm up for Snetterton.”

The Cadillac Mid-Ohio Grand Prix presented by Stoptech will be broadcast on Saturday, August 25 at 1:30 PM ET on NBC Sports. Both races can also be seen in their entirety at www.world-challengetv.com.

About APR
APR LLC is an automotive engineering firm operating a 36,000 sq. ft. performance campus in Opelika, Ala. APR was founded in 1997 with a corporate philosophy of Integrity, Excellence and Innovation. APR’s sole mission is to provide the highest quality and most highly engineered aftermarket performance parts available for Audi, Volkswagen, SEAT and Skoda vehicles. Learn more at www.goapr.com, follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/APRMotorsport, and on twitter (@GoAPR).

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