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Mar 17, 2014 - 03:58 PM
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Pobst, Carbonell Give Freedom Autosport, Mazda ST Win at Sebring
Posted by: newsla on Mar 17, 2014 - 03:56 PM
Sports Cars
Pobst, Carbonell Give Freedom Autosport, Mazda ST Win at Sebring


Randy Pobst and Andrew Carbonell gave Freedom Autosport and Mazda the ST win in Friday’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Sebring International Raceway after leading much of the 2.5-hour race in the No. 26 Mazda MX-5.

 

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This is the first win for Pobst and Carbonell as co-drivers—who first drove together at round one in Daytona—and Freedom Autosport’s first win of the season.

Pobst started the race from second and took over the top spot in the early laps. He began putting distance between his Mazda and second place before pitting shortly after the one-hour mark.

Carbonell got behind the wheel at that point, returning to the track in third. He quickly retook the lead, then did just what Pobst had done in his stint: pull away from the competition.

A caution period at the start of the final hour closed up the ST field, but Carbonell retained the lead when the green flag came out again. When the checkered flag flew along with the double yellow for a late-race caution, the No. 25 Freedom Autosport Mazda headed to victory lane.

The result is fitting for Pobst, who finished second in the inaugural Firestone Firehawk race at Sebring in 1985. That was the predecessor to the Continental Tire series, which had its debut race at Sebring today.

“The most challenging and demanding part of my drive was the first ten laps,” said Pobst. “We had to pit under green and the Freedom Autosport team did a great job, they were quick, and Andrew got back out there and back into the lead. At this track, our advantage was in the handling, and we had great Continental Tires. John Doonan at Mazda Motorsorts told me he thought Andrew and I would get along well as teammates. Andrew knows these cars really well, and he has reminded me how to drive the MX-5, which is so close to a street car.”

The win is also special for Carbonell, who grew up watching his father Alfredo race at Sebring. “I got my racing license here, so I’ve done the full spectrum: I started here, and now I’m racing professionally at Sebring,” said Carbonell. “It was our race to lose today, and we had to manage our tires to make sure we had a good car there at the end.”

Freedom Autosport heads to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca next, where they finished 1-2 in 2013 and 2012. In the meantime, fans can watch the Sebring race on Fox Sports 1 at 1:00 p.m. ET on March 19 and on Fox Sports 2 at 7:30 p.m. on March 23.


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