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Team tops podium at home track double-header; Sandberg takes third place on Sunday
(Bowmanville, ON) -- Last weekend Lawson Aschenbach hoped to maintain his World Challenge championship lead with strong performances at Compass360 Racing's home track, Mosport International Raceway. The Toronto-based team brought two Honda Civic Si's to the race course, ready to do battle with the strong Touring Car-class field, #71 for Aschenbach and the #70 for Brett Sandberg in his second start for the squad.
Although the weather was unsettled for much of the weekend, both Saturday and Sunday's races turned out to be run in dry conditions. During Saturday's qualifying session Aschenbach was pipped for pole by the Volvo C30 of Aaron Povoledo, while Sandberg qualified sixth. Under bright, sunny skies, the first race of the weekend played out as a battle of two parts, the first with Aschenbach at the center of a four-car pack which included the Volvo, Tristan Herbert's VW and the Honda of Anthony Rapone, and the second featuring Sandberg fending off yet another Volvo, Civic and Mazda RX-8.
After fifty minutes of hard fighting, Aschenbach emerged the victor, standing on the top spot of the podium, while Sandberg came across the line a well-deserved fifth.
Sunday's qualifying was much like the previous day's, with Aschenbach's fast time holding up until the final lap of the session when he was pushed back by... Povoledo's Volvo C30. Sandberg was once again sixth.
At the start, the two cars fared differently, with Lawson losing a spot to Herbert's fast-starting VW, while Brett made a great start to fourth immediately behind Aschenbach. Povoledo's pole-sitting Volvo was deemed to have jumped the start, which resulted in a great four-car fight between the team's two Hondas chasing Herbert's VW and Rapone's Civic in hot pursuit.
Late in the race Herbert suffered a mechanical problem, which brought out a full-course caution under which the race ended. At the line it was Aschenbach first and Sandberg third, notching his second World Challenge career podium and taking fastest lap of the race to boot.
“What a fantastic weekend,” Aschenbach said. “Any time you can go two for two it’s just amazing. Thanks to the Compass360 crew, my Honda Civic was just awesome all weekend. We knew we had a shot to win; we just really had to get out in front. We don’t have the power right now to keep up with some of these guys so it’s really focused on handling and corning and that’s what this Honda does so well.”
Sandberg, meanwhile, was thrilled to be on the podium. "Working with this team has been just great," he exclaimed. "The car was hooked up today and it was phenomenal to lay down the fast lap."
With the win, Aschenbach extended his TC championship lead to 172 points over Povoledo. Sandberg moves into tenth place in the championship, despite missing two rounds earlier in the year.
"We'd all like to give a quick shout out to our friend Tom Ehlen, who normally drives our #72 Honda," added Team Principal Karl Thomson. "He's on vacation in Hawaii with his wife and recovering well from the injury he received in the last round in Utah. We're looking forward to having him back in the car at the next race, Mid-Ohio in August."
The Mosport event will be televised on Versus on Saturday June 18th at 3:00pm. It will also be available to watch online at http://world-challengetv.com.
(Thanks to Jim Bowie for the on-track photos. Paddock shot by Karl Thomson.)