APR Motorsport Fights Challenges All Day Long in CTSCC Race At Miami

APR Motorsport Fights Challenges All Day Long in CTSCC Race At Miami

APR Motorsport - Homestead - 2012

Ian Baas, Aleks Altberg finish 16th in Street Tuner class at Homestead-Miami Speedway

April 28, 2012 (Homestead, Mia.) – It was an up-and-down day for the drivers of APR Motorsports’ five Volkswagens in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Street Tuner class.

Ian Baas (Noblesville, Ind.) and Aleks Altberg (Mill Valley, Calif.) earned the team’s best finish, 16th, in the No. 171 APR Tuned VW GTI. Altberg started 11th but passed five cars on the opening of 82 laps, his sights set on the leaders as he moved to sixth.

However, a mechanical problem on Lap 3 dropped Altberg through the field, as he rolled around the track to pit lane. A caution period allowed the crew to make quick repairs, though Altberg fell one lap behind the leaders. Baas took controls of the No. 171 at the 56-minute mark, or Lap 30, and steadily worked through the field. He moved into the top 10 with just under an hour to go, and was seventh with 30 minutes remaining. However, he faded in the final 15 minutes, back to 16th.

“I was really happy with the car initially,” Baas said. “The strategy played into our favor following the unfortunate event at the beginning. The car was holding strong in the top 10. Unfortunately, we just don’t know what happened at the end. I was giving it everything I got.”

APR Motorsport - Homestead - 2012

One spot behind Baas and Altberg were rookies Christian Perez (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela) and Daniel La Riva (Lecheria, Venezuela) in the No. 191 APR Tuned/Motul Volkswagen Jetta. La Riva was moving through the field when, at the 45-minute mark, he made contact with a car spinning in turn six. With nowhere to go, La Riva made contact with an out-of-control Ford Focus, knocking the car out of alignment and damaging the left rear. Still, he managed to run strong until he gave the car to Perez at the 56-minute mark.

Fighting handling problems thereafter, Perez said he just wanted to bring the car home without further incident. He did so, earning 17th.

“The toe was knocked out from the incident, but the car was still running well when I took over,” Perez said. “We were able to pick up the pace considerably when we took on slick tires, and I was able to manage everything from there. We had a little bit of an overheating issue with the brakes from the incident, but that didn’t affect us much.”

APR Motorsport - Homestead - 2012

Dion von Moltke (Coral Gables, Fla.) and Juan Alvarez (Maracay, Venezuela) finished 19th in the No. 131 APR Tuned/Motul Volkswagen GTI. Taking the wheel from Alvarez on the lead lap, von Moltke also worked through the ST class field and into the top 20. He ran as high as 17th coming to the white flag, but an incident with a Mini Cooper in turn four sent both cars spinning and into the wall. Von Moltke regrouped and brought the car home to the checkered flag for the team’s third top-20 finish.

“I did whatever I could; I just couldn’t keep up with some of the guys,” said von Moltke, who will compete in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Miami in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series for APR Motorsport in the no. 51 APR Audi R8 Grand-Am. “But I had a blast today with APR. They did a great job giving me a good car. Hopefully they can continue to develop the car, and that I’ll be back with Juan in the future challenging for a win.”

APR Motorsport - Homestead - 2012

Josh Hurley (Gainesville, Fla.) and Nate Norenberg (Plymouth, Minn.) were among the quickest duo of the day in the No. 161 APR Tuned/Motul Volkswagen GTIs. Starting 38th after a qualifying infraction on Friday, Norenberg bolted through the field. He was running 22nd in the first 15 minutes, and had raced his way to 13th before pitting on Lap 20 for fuel, four tires and a driver change.

As pit stops cycled through, Hurley, a former series rookie of the year, cycled back toward the front. He had jumped all the way to ninth before fuel pickup problems caused him to drop back. Finally, contact with another car ended in a broken radiator, and he retired after 32nd, completing 44 laps.

“We had a really fast car,” Hurley said. “There seemed to be a problem, so I fell back, but kept regaining the positions; it was like Groundhog’s Day. I made a small mistake, and hit another guy.”

APR Motorsport - Homestead - 2012

Like his teammates, Hector Guerrero (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela) was moving through the field in attempt to hand the No. 181 APR Tuned/Motul Volkswagen GTI over to co-driver Juan Pablo Serra (Puebla, Mexico). However, an incident at the 50-minute mark ended that. A driver of one of the Mini Coopers drifted up the track, pinching Guerrero between him and another car. The driver of the third car hit Guerrero’s GTI in the right rear, turning him nearly head-on into the wall, just before the start/finish line. Once his car stopped at Turn 1, he got out of the car, and was ultimately checked and released from the infield care center.

“I was just trying to keep a specific pace until the driver change,” Guerrero said. “I think the driver of the Mini thought he was clear, but he unfortunately wasn’t, and ran into me.”

Saturday’s two-and-a-half hour race will be televised on SPEED at noon ET on Saturday, May 12. The next race on the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge schedule is Saturday, May 12, at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J.

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