Subaru Drivers Twice Climb To Third in Lime Rock Park GRAND-AM Race

Subaru Drivers Twice Climb To Third in Lime Rock Park GRAND-AM Race
– Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Season Finale –
Phoenixville, Pa. – Sept. 30, 2012 – Both drivers of the Subaru Road Racing Team’s (SRRT) Subaru Impreza WRX STI, Andrew Aquilante and Bret Spaude, carved their way through the 26-car field to as high as third place with the race lead in sight in the season finale of GRAND-AM’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, CT.
Their winning aspirations, however, were cut short when a following driver, Bill Auberlen, collided with Aquilante, as both drivers steamed into the first turn, forcing the #35 WRX STI into the guardrail on the 98th of 136 laps of the 1.53-mile road course. The collision caused sufficient damage that the Subaru team was unable to finish the race.
Aquilante had climbed from 22nd place to fifth when the mishap happened.
“Up to that point, this really was an excellent weekend for the entire team,” said Subaru Road Racing Team principal Joe Aquilante, who owns Phoenix Performance in Phoenixville, where the Subaru Impreza race cars are prepared and maintained.
“I’m disappointed by Auberlen’s move as he’s usually a much smarter driver. Bill [Auberlen] was behind A.J. for a big chunk of the race up to that point and was simply not close enough to pass cleanly.  You have to wonder what he was thinking. And as a direct result, we finished 24th in a 26-car field when a podium was well insight. A disappointing way to end the season, especially considering how steadily our Subaru’s performance increased as the season went along.”
Spaude, of Bushnell, Fla., started the 4-door Subaru Impreza WRX STI from the 9th position and within 25 laps was up to third position, a spot he held for the next 20 laps before turning the cockpit over to Aquilante for the final time this season. AJ took over on lap 47 and worked his way back up to third before pitting on lap 82 for the final fuel load.  By lap 96, Aquilante was up to 5th and closing on the leaders before the errant BMW ended his day.
The team’s 2012 season was highlighted by a win at New Jersey Motorsports Park, a third place finish at the Homestead-Miami Speedway round, and a strong run to second at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca by the final lap.
Added James Han, motorsports marketing manager for Subaru of America, Inc. “The frustration at a missed podium due to an errant driver is still too recent to overlook easily.  When you look at the macro view of things, there are some key and encouraging takeaways:  our #35 WRX STI has the performance to set or match the pace in the GS field, our pit stop strategies and implementation are closer to optimizing outcomes, and overall, the team is demonstrating the consistency and pace to attack as championship contenders next year.  Needless to say, we’re looking forward to 2013.”