It was an up-and-down day for the drivers of APR Motorsports' five Volkswagens in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Street Tuner class.
Ian Baas (Noblesville, Ind.) and Aleks Altberg (Mill Valley, Calif.) earned the team's best finish, 16th, in the No. 171 APR Tuned VW GTI. Altberg started 11th but passed five cars on the opening of 82 laps, his sights set on the leaders as he moved to sixth.
However, a mechanical problem on Lap 3 dropped Altberg through the field, as he rolled around the track to pit lane. A caution period allowed the crew to make quick repairs, though Altberg fell one lap behind the leaders. Baas took controls of the No. 171 at the 56-minute mark, or Lap 30, and steadily worked through the field. He moved into the top 10 with just under an hour to go, and was seventh with 30 minutes remaining. However, he faded in the final 15 minutes, back to 16th.
"I was really happy with the car initially," Baas said. "The strategy played into our favor following the unfortunate event at the beginning. The car was holding strong in the top 10. Unfortunately, we just don't know what happened at the end. I was giving it everything I got."
One spot behind Baas and Altberg were rookies Christian Perez (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela) and Daniel La Riva (Lecheria, Venezuela) in the No. 191 APR Tuned/Motul Volkswagen Jetta. La Riva was moving through the field when, at the 45-minute mark, he made contact with a car spinning in turn six. With nowhere to go, La Riva made contact with an out-of-control Ford Focus, knocking the car out of alignment and damaging the left rear. Still, he managed to run strong until he gave the car to Perez at the 56-minute mark.
Fighting handling problems thereafter, Perez said he just wanted to bring the car home without further incident. He did so, earning 17th.
"The toe was knocked out from the incident, but the car was still running well when I took over," Perez said. "We were able to pick up the pace considerably when we took on slick tires, and I was able to manage everything from there. We had a little bit of an overheating issue with the brakes from the incident, but that didn't affect us much."
Dion von Moltke (Coral Gables, Fla.) and Juan Alvarez (Maracay, Venezuela)