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Jun 21, 2014 - 05:59 AM
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Ziegler Takes Impressive Podium in Race One at Road America
Posted by: newsla on Jun 21, 2014 - 05:58 AM
Sports Cars
Ziegler Takes Impressive Podium in Race One at Road America


Following an exciting Race One at the storied Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Global Motorsport Group (GMG) continued their podium streak today with veteran driver Bill Ziegler taking an impressive second in the GT-A category. It would be the first podium for the Florida native who after years of competition in the Pirelli World Challenge will be going home with some well-earned hardware.

 

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“It’s great to finally earn a podium,” stated Ziegler. “We knew with a track like Road America, our car might have a good chance and it finally just all came together for us. With a track as fast as this place is, my goal was to just run a clean race and stay out of trouble, and it worked out perfectly. Thanks to GMG and all of the guys who’ve worked so hard to deliver a strong program, I’m really happy we were able to deliver.”

Racing at the 4-mile, 14-turn circuit for the first time since 2009, series’ qualifying was unfortunately cancelled due to rain. With the grid determined by points, Ziegler and his No. 95 Swisher Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra would take to the grid from the eighth row with an eye on patience and consistency being the key to his race. As the green light flashed for the series’ signature standing start, the Florida resident made a clean getaway and never looked back. As the 50-minute race unfolded, a series of spins and incidents in front of him would prove valuable as Bill soldiered through without putting a foot wrong, eventually climbing his way to second in class when the checkered flag fell.

Looking to continue his podium streak after three straight visits, Andrew Palmer drove a relatively quiet race in the No. 21 Spyder / The Thermal Club Audi R8 LMS ultra to take fifth. Palmer, whose last visit to a permanent road course netted him a victory in Alabama, ran a trouble-free race in his first visit to the historic course, giving chase to the Porsche and McLaren vehicles in front of him before settling into his own rhythm. The finish would net valuable points for the 19-year old who finished ahead of the championship-leading Johnny O’Connell and Anthony Lazzaro.

“Today was a good points day,” stated Palmer. “With the speeds and tricky nature of the course, there’s a lot of ways the day could have gone south very quickly so we really just concentrated on having a consistent run and learning everything we could for tomorrow. The guys gave me a great car, and I think with what I learned today the second race will be even better.”

Finally, James Sofronas would enjoy a solid run in his No. 14 Mobil 1 / The Thermal Club / Spyder machine before a power steering issue would drop him from closing in the top five to eighth. Starting from the third row, the Villa Park, California resident would make a strong start to run in tandem with teammate Palmer throughout much of the race. Running similar lap times, the duo would carve through traffic trying to manage their tires for the end, however, as the race came into the second half, Sofronas would have to back off in order to ensure he was able to make it to the finish.

“We were able to finish and that puts us in a good position for tomorrow,” stated Sofronas. “Andrew and I were both managing our race trying to see where everything went, but unfortunately we had the steering issue before I was really able to get going. These things happen and we’ll just move on tomorrow, Audi and all of our guys have worked really hard to give us a good car.”

Also worth noting, Bret Curtis, who was scheduled to race today had to withdraw due to illness, but will return for the next event in Toronto.


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