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DETROIT – Cadillac Racing drivers Johnny O’Connell and Andy Pilgrim had a rough first of two Pirelli World Challenge Series Cadillac V-Series Challenge races today on Detroit’s Belle Isle Park, May 29-31.
In qualifying this morning, Johnny O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) and Andy Pilgrim (Boca Raton, Fla.) were poised for top starting positions when an on track incident would not allow the complete GT field to log a lap time. As a result, the series officials lined up the 26 car field by points. O’Connell started third and Pilgrim started from the seventh row.
Taking the rolling start O’Connell slotted into the third position. Teammate Pilgrim found himself going through Turn One three abreast and received front right damage to his Cadillac ATS-V.R. On lap four, Pilgrim pitted his No. 8 ATS-V.R with the engine overheating.
O’Connell was bidding his time in third when the aggression of Nick Catsburg, in his Lamborghini, played out on the rear bumper of O’Connell’s Cadillac forcing him wide and back to sixth position. O’Connell was able to race his No. 3 ATS-V.R to fourth position at the checker and will take the standing start tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. from the second row in third position.
“I had a good start,” O’Connell said. “I slipped into third and I expected a lot of action between the McLaren and the Ferrari ahead me. The McLaren made a good move and the Ferrari squeezed him down. I was studying them and waiting for an opportunity to move-up. Unfortunately the Lamborghini got into the back of me twice. Saving the car, I hit the traction control off and then I spent a lap or two gathering it back up. Later in the race, I had another issue that I am sure was a result of the earlier contact.”
Pilgrim’s race lasted just four laps.
“I had a reasonable start,” Pilgrim said. “When you go through Turn One three wide, which is not impossible to do it can get frantic. I got squeezed real hard and pretty much had my left front taken off. I lost quite a few positions. It was still ok to continue then a few laps later the steam came up from the engine and I had to pit.”
Sunday’s Pirelli World Challenge Series Cadillac V-Series Challenge race will be televised live on CBS Sports Network Sunday, May 31 starting at 12:00 p.m. ET.
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