Enge, Baldwin on Pirelli World Challenge poles for St. Pete

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Tomas Enge and Jack Baldwin have earned the respective GT and GTS poles for today’s season-opening Pirelli World Challenge race on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Enge, who competed on the same 1.8-mile St. Pete street circuit as a member of the Verizon IndyCar Series back in 2005, set a new track record with at time of 1:13.429 (88.248 mph) in the No. 25 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo FL2.

Joining him on the GT front row will be another former IndyCar driver, Anthony Lazzaro, who qualified second in the No. 61 Remo Ferri Group Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 with a time of 1:13.691.

In GTS, Baldwin and defending class champion Lawson Aschenbach dueled for the pole before the former won out with a time of 1:23.453 in the No. 73 GTSport Porsche Cayman S. Aschenbach, driving the No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro, settled for P2 in GTS with a time of 1:23.879.

Today’s race – the first of two this weekend in St. Pete – will go off today at 3:10 p.m. ET on World-ChallengeTV.com. NBCSN will broadcast the St. Pete races on Sunday, April 6 at 5:30 p.m. ET.

PIRELLI WORLD CHALLENGE – ST. PETERSBURG, RACE NO. 1
GT/GTS Provisional Grid
(position/class/car number in parentheses/driver/hometown/car/fastest lap time/speed in mph)

1 – GT, (25), Tomas Enge, Liberec, Czech Rep, Lamborghini Gallardo FL2, 1:13.429, 88.248.

2 – GT, (61), Anthony Lazzaro, Atlanta, Ga., Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, 1:13.691, 87.934.

3 – GT, (94), Dane Cameron, Buford, Ga., BMW Z4, 1:13.860, 87.733.

4 – GT, (8), Andy Pilgrim, Boca Raton, Fla., Cadillac CTS-V R, 1:14.621, 86.838.

5 – GT, (3), Johnny O’Connell, Flowery Branch, Ga., Cadillac CTS-V R, 1:14.686, 86.763.

6 – GT, (16), Nick Mancuso(A), Chicago, Ill., Ferrari 458 GT3, 1:14.686, 86.763.

7 – GT, (24), Albert von Thurn und Taxis(A), Regensburg, Germany, Lamborghini Gallardo FL2, 1:14.749, 86.690.

8 – GT, (9), Alex Figge, Denver, Colo., McLaren 12C GT3, 1:14.853, 86.569.

9 – GT, (21), Andrew Palmer(A), Chicago, Ill., Audi R8 R8 Ultra, 1:14.943, 86.465.

10 – GT, (0), Marcelo Hahn(A), Sao Paulo, Brasil, Lamborghini Gallardo FL2, 1:15.114, 86.268.

GTS

1 – GTS, (73), Jack Baldwin, Marietta, Ga., Porsche Cayman, 1:23.453, 77.648.

2 – GTS, (1), Lawson Aschenbach, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 1:23.879, 77.254.

3 – GTS, (20), Andy Lee, Colorado Springs, Colo., Chevrolet Camaro, 1:24.526, 76.662.

4 – GTS, (50), Dean Martin, Westland, Mich., Ford Mustang Boss302, 1:24.941, 76.288.

5 – GTS, (33), Tony Buffomante, Naperville, Ill., Ford MustangBoss302, 1:25.402, 75.876.

6 – GTS, (60), Jack Roush Jr, Livonia, Mich., Ford MustangBoss302R, 1:25.722, 75.593.

7 – GTS, (02), Drew Regitz, Denver, Colo., Aston Martin GT4, 1:26.121, 75.243.

8 – GTS, (17), Alec Udell, The Woodlands, Texas, Ford Mustang Boss302, 1:26.205, 75.169.

9 – GTS, (51), Ric Bushey, Virgina Beach, Va., Nissan 370Z, 1:26.543, 74.876.

10 – GTS, (38), Mark Wilkins, Toronto, Ontario, Kia Optima, 1:26.602, 74.825.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.