Pirelli World Challenge begins 25th Anniversary Season

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Writer’s Note: The following is a recap of today’s first race of the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge season from the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. NBCSN will broadcast the race on Sunday, April 6 at 5:30 p.m. ET. If you don’t want to know who won until then, we suggest you find another post to read here on MotorSportsTalk…

Series GT newcomer Tomas Enge and defending GTS class champion Lawson Aschenbach were victorious in today’s season-opener for the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge championship on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. In addition, Andrew Palmer earned the first win in the series’ new GT-A subcategory for gentlemen drivers.

This weekend was supposed to see the GT and GTS classes compete in two races on the 1.8-mile St. Pete street course, but a heavy storm and a lack of track time afterwards wound up cancelling Saturday’s race. Qualifying times from Saturday set the grid for Sunday’s race, and only single-event points were awarded.

Enge had a poor standing start from the GT pole position, but marched to the front of the field during Sunday’s 50-minute race. With almost five minutes left, he capped off his comeback in the No. 25 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 with a bold inside pass of Andy Pilgrim and his No. 8 Cadillac Racing CTS-V.R in Turn 1 that proved to be the race winner.

Pilgrim placed second, while Palmer finished third overall in the No. 21 GMG Racing Audi R8 Ultra after dueling with Anthony Lazzaro and Nick Mancuso in their R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italias. Lazzaro ended up fourth, while Mancuso picked up fifth (second in GT-A).

In GTS, Aschenbach took the No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro to Victory Lane after taking advantage of slower traffic to make the race-winning pass on Andy Lee (No. 20 Best IT/Crown 7 Chevrolet Camaro) at Lap 26.

Jack Baldwin, who swept both St. Pete races last year in GTS, earned a third-place result in his No. 73 GTSport Porsche Cayman S. Tony Buffomonte (No. 33 Capaldi Racing/Ford Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302S) and Jack Roush Jr. (No. 60 ROUSH Road Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302R) completed the Top 5 in GTS.

The Pirelli World Challenge will be back in action Sunday, April 13 on the Streets of Long Beach, California as part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend.

CADILLAC GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG presented by StopTech – FULL RESULTS

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images
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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

Fast 12

Josef Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Will Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480 mph), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.