BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 18, 2009) – Ian Baas and Josh Hurley turned in a dominating performance Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park, leading 76 of the 83 laps to win the Legacy Credit Union 200, Round 8 of the 2009 Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge.
While it was the first career victory for both drivers of the No. 171 APR Motorsport Volkswagen GTI, it followed back-to-back triumphs by Dion von Moltke and Mike Sweeney in the No. 181. It was also a home-course victory for APR Motorsport, based in nearby Auburn, Ala.
Baas led the opening 36 circuits before being passed by the No. 111 Subaru of America Subaru Legacy of Andrew Aquilante on the front straightaway. Baas quickly regained the lead in Turn 1 on the next lap, and paced another lap before pitting.
“I can’t say enough for Mr. Aquilante,” Baas said. “He was really putting the pressure on me. The Subaru was really set up good. I really had to work out hard out there. It will make for good TV (SPEED, Saturday, July 25, noon ET).”
Ken Wilden, driving the No. 129 JE Racing/Hawk Brakes BMW 330i, and Christian Miller, in the No. 74 034 Motorsport/Skunk2 Honda Civic Si, each led a lap before their stops, when the lead cycled back to Hurley.
Hurley’s only challenge in the closing half of the race came when the third and final full-course caution waved with 38 minutes remaining, erasing a 12.8 second lead. On the restart, Hurley motored away from Kristian Skavnes, who took over for Aquilante.
Andrew Carbonell, who took over for 15th-place starter Rhett O’Doski in the No. 146 Freedom Autosport/Mazda Mazda MX-5, passed Skavnes following the restart and finished second, 4.118 seconds behind Hurley.
Skavnes held on for third, followed by Owen Trinkler and Jade Buford in the No. 196 Cruise America/Four Winds Mini Cooper S, Bryan Ortiz and Wilden, and Sarah Cattaneo and Mark White in the No. 147 Freedom Autosport/Mazda Mazda MX-5.
Randy Pobst placed seventh in relief of Miller, whose lead was cut to 18 points by Skavnes and Aquilante (231-213). Pobst remains third in the standings with 205 points, with Baas and Hurley another 10 points back with 195 points.
Baas and Hurley averaged 75.473 mph. The race was slowed three times for six laps, all for cars stopped off course that were able to continue following extrications.
Following Sunday’s race, only three races remain in 2009 KONI Challenge competition, which next sees action Aug. 15-16 at Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada.