K-Pax #6 Recap: St. Petersburg
Mar 27, 2012 - 8:54:46 PM
Hello Volvo fans, this is Randy Pobst, driver of the #6 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 in World Challenge GT, now in our fourth season in the Volvo. We won the manufacturer's, team and driver's championships in the Volvo in 2010, and that is our goal again here in the 2012 season. I've had the good fortune to win four World Challenge GT championships, three of which with K-PAX Racing (the first two were in Porsches while we were building the Volvo S60s). Obviously, K-PAX is a terrific and successful team.
I'll be sending you first-hand reports on the action after each race this year, and included here is my view from the St Petersburg Grands Prix, where I've won four races over the years; including my very first race win!
St. Petersburg, FL (March 26, 2012) - We returned for another season with the #6 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 team for the 2012 Pirelli World Challenge GT Championship doubleheader on the streets of St. Petersburg. From the standing start of the first race, the competition was fierce and the racing was wild and incident-filled. We were forced to start from the back of the GT group after an engine change, as per World Challenge rules. My Volvo got another great start and went from fifteenth to ninth by the end of the first lap, when the first caution flag flew. On the restart, we gained another two positions and was racing hot and heavy when the car suddenly shut off. The Volvo pitted and the team determined that it wasn't safe to continue the race due to an electronics issue.
We seem to have a ghost in the machine. We started having problems during practice and the K-PAX team changed many things, but apparently the sneaky problem was still not fixed. They decided to change the engine because the team saw something that wasn't quite right and didn't want to risk it. We had the Volvo all-wheel drive advantage which gave us a great start. The racing was wild and high risk with cars everywhere. I was in hand-to-hand combat when the electronics shut down. My teammate Alex Figge led much of the race but lost the lead when a Touring car swerved into his path while trying to get out of the way. The move was so sudden that Alex actually bumped him and a Porsche got by from fourth place. Just hold your line people! At least he got a terrific third place out of it.
For the second race, the K-PAX team replaced almost everything electronic, working late into the night. We started the race in seventh place based on the fastest lap time from the previous race. The Volvo AWD again proved valuable as we were able to pass cars on the standing start and a later restart, getting all the way up to second place! Then the ghost returned, causing the car to suddenly die and forcing us to retire from the race.
It's a darn shame. On the restart, I made a late brake move, passing Alex and the Cadillacs and got second. We were running so well when the issue in the car returned. Alex also tangled with a Porsche and broke the suspension, putting him out of the race. It was unfortunate for K-PAX and Volvo. The good news is that the Volvo handling was further improved and the car was faster in the second event. It was beautiful. It was nice to have our 30 or so Volvo guests join us for the weekend and also fun to visit with my father, sister and brother-in-law. I would like to thank my personal sponsors, WeatherTech, saferacer.com and TPC Racing for their support during this 2012 season. K-PAX is now heading back to Denver to exorcise the ghost before the Long Beach race which is right around the corner.
The Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg presented by Pirelli World Challenge doubleheader will be televised on NBC Sports Network on April 8 at 4:30 PM ET. All races this season are available live and any time thereafter at worldchallengetv.com. You can watch them right now! The next race for the World Challenge GT is the Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 13-15. Another high-risk, challenging and historic street race.