K1 Speed in Irvine, California kicked off the start of the 2nd half of the 2011 Challenge GP race season for the So-Cal region this past Sunday to a large group of racers, all in the hunt for the top spot on the podium. With the points reset back to 0 the chase for the overall points championship for the second half of the season is up in the air and this could be the event that sets the pace for the rest of the season for the Central Orange County location. The all new Super-Track configuration was set up just in time for this race as well, as drivers were experiencing the layout for the first time as both track 1 and track 2 are combined to create the all new layout.
Qualifying was a straight forward session, as drivers had double qualifying rounds to learn the all new layout and find the line that would produce a fast lap for the top qualifying position. Robby Stanovich who has been an up and coming driver was able to find the fast way around and grab the pole position for the A Main with a 42.223 second lap time. Robby would set the pace for the rest of the field in what would be some of the closest up front battles among the drivers.
C-Main race action would get the night going with a number of well known faces, along with some new ones in the field. Rob Drew who has been a long time attendee of the Challenge GP events would take the checkered flag for the win, giving him a first time, first place finish in a series race with K1 Speed. He was followed by Omid Tahami in second and Michael Gale would take third to round out the top three.
Next on track was the B-Main, with another group of well known drivers in the field. The relentless driving skills of Heath Sosa and Adam Akers made for an exciting race giving spectators a look at what could be an A-Main driving performance between the two. Adam would edge out Heath in the end by literally a few hundredths of a second. Chris Weiland would hang on to third place just barely, as Brad Drew and Michael Arnold, who made a great pass for position into 5th were charging hard at the end but were unable to catch up to Chris by the time the checkered flag came out.
Finishing out the night the A-Main was on track with the young Robby Stanovich leading the group on for the green flag rolling start. Robby would lead the field into turn one and it was quite a battle between him and long time Challenge GP driver Taylor Hays who is also an avid outdoor kart racer. Robby would take the win by 3 thousandths of a second probably creating one of the closest races at K1 Speed Irvine. Professional Formula Drift driver, and industry icon Edward Bergenholtz would take the final spot on the podium in third after a great battle with Khalifa Alasiri who finished out his night in 4th.
The level of competition between the drivers has certainly grown over the last year, with many drivers who should be A Main qualifiers finding themselves in the B and sometimes C mains due to the driving talent that has been brought to these events. K1 Speed’s next GP for the OC will be August 7th, and with the points chase up for grabs this will be an exciting race to the end for the overall championship points winner. Come out to our next event and check out the K1 Speed Challenge GP race Series!