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Jun 01, 2014 - 01:57 PM
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Palmer, Curtis Continue Gmg Podium Streak In Detroit
Posted by: newsla on Jun 01, 2014 - 01:53 PM
Sports Cars
Palmer, Curtis Continue Gmg Podium Streak In Detroit


With the streets of Detroit’s Belle Isle Park known for providing ample action every year, today’s first of two rounds in the Pirelli World Challenge failed to disappoint with Global Motorsports Group (GMG) drivers Andrew Palmer and Bret Curtis taking second in their respective classes in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

 

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“That was an incredible race,” stated Palmer, who was also awarded the Cadillac Move of the Race. “We weren’t sure what to expect today with our starting position, but the race really fell our way. The car was incredibly fast and we were able to capitalize on our starts and restarts to gain positions, and this was huge for us in the points. I have to thank everyone on this team for such an amazing effort to get us here today. The crew had a long night to to make it out today, and I’m glad I could reward them with today’s result.”

While Palmer’s second place was a great feat in itself, what makes it more impressive is the process to get there. During yesterday’s morning practice, Palmer’s first time at the track, an incident during the session would require a series of repairs to the car. With the time required taking Palmer out of the afternoon’s second session, the 19-year old would not return to his No. 21 Spyder / The Thermal Club Audi R8 LMS ultra until this morning’s qualifying session, in which the Chicago native had ten minutes to see how different his car was as well as set a strong lap time.

Worth noting, the crew would end up staying at the track until 2:00AM to make all of the necessary repairs, returning less than four hours later for today’s race.

Qualifying eighth, when the green light flashed for today’s standing start, Palmer made a masterful getaway jumping to fourth by the end of the second turn and never looking back. When mechanical gremlins set in for the second-place No. 8 Cadillac CTS-V.R, Andrew would advance to third hunting down the No. 2 Audi as the race wore on. Following an extended caution period, the race would resume with four laps to go where Palmer would once again make an excellent jump to take second, where he would finish.

It was the third podium in five races for the Pomona College student, who has yet to race at a track that he’s driven prior.

Also taking second place honors in the GT-A category was team veteran Bret Curtis. Driving the No. 32 Spectra Resources / Valspar Audi R8 LMS ultra, the Texas resident did a masterful job of avoiding calamity while engaged in a great three-way fight between the No. 80 Viper and No. 54 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. With all three vehicles showing their respective strengths at different parts of the circuit, Curtis held to second with no mistakes taking his first podium in Pirelli World Challenge competition.

“It was great to finally take a podium in this series,” stated Curtis. “GMG has always done an excellent job of providing competitive equipment and it’s nice to see everything finally come together. The track here provides a lot of excitement and just being able to finish cleanly is a challenge, so to finally walk away with a podium is fantastic. I’m looking forward to doing it all again tomorrow.”

For team owner James Sofronas, driving the No. 14 Mobil 1 / The Thermal Club / Spyder machine, a fairly quiet race would see the Californian finish eighth. With the multi-time race winner having missed the second practice session due to damage to his vehicle, the No. 14 crew would also put in a late night getting his car ready for this morning’s qualifying session where he would settle in ninth.

Getting a clean start and surviving the chaos that is customary with street racing, track position would play a vital role with Sofronas unable to make much work of the field in front of him. Opting to gather points and focus on setting a quick time to grid him well for tomorrow’s race, the Villa Park resident would take eighth-place honors.

“The race for me was fairly quiet, but the story is really about the crew,” stated Sofronas. “Both Andrew and I had quite a bit of work required for these cars to race today, and once again everyone just jumped to it and put in the work. It’s amazing to see and I’m so incredibly fortunate to have a group like this. I also have to thank Audi Sport customer racing who brought their own truck out this weekend to support us as well as the TUDOR series, and that was vital to our weekend. Between our spares and crew, with Audi support we were able to continue racing and I’m glad we were able to reap the rewards with Andrew.”

Finally, Bill Ziegler in the No. 95 Swisher Racing machine would round out the GMG lineup with a strong finish of sixth in the GT-A category. Running a clean race, the Floridian would find himself engaged in multiple battles throughout the race keeping his nose clean and in great shape for tomorrow’s second race.

“It was a fun day, but we still have one more to go,” stated Ziegler. “Getting through these races is always a big part of the challenge, and there was no shortage of action today. The car was very consistent, which was critical, and I’m looking forward to continuing it tomorrow.”

The racing action for the Pirelli World Challenge will continue through tomorrow with the second race taking place at 11AM ET.

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