Touring Car News
Kleinubing’s Acura 2nd at Road America
Aug 11, 2008 - 1:23:17 PM
RealTime Racing Acura driver Pierre Kleinubing drove his TSX to a hard-fought second place finish at Road America, Round Eight of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED Touring Car Championship. This result netted an additional three markers over second place Mazda in the Manufacturers’ Championship, with Acura now leading by 18 points, 69-51. If Acura can score at least one fourth place result in either of the final two races, it will secure its record-extending sixth Manufacturers’ title.
Kleinubing qualified on the pole with a 98.376 mph lap around the famed 4.048-mile road course and led laps 1 thru 11 before being passed by BMW driver James Clay, who was only able to put a 1.5-second gap on Kleinubing when the checkered flag fell six laps later.
“This was the most exciting Touring Car race the series has seen in quite awhile,” commented RTR team leader Peter Cunningham, whose fifth place finish keeps him in second place for the driving title. “The battles were ongoing throughout the field and no one knew where they would finish until the checkered flag fell.”
Points leader Kuno Wittmer came into the weekend as the series’ most recent race winner, but found out that was no guarantee of superiority. In Qualifying he led the pack out of the gate as the Touring Cars line up in points order. At a place like Road America however, that’s not where you want to be, because being the benefactor of the ‘draft’ can shave your lap time substantially. After starting from the 11th position (This was the first time this year he qualified worse than sixth), Wittmer did his best to work his way to the front but got shuffled back in a restart fracas and had to settle for 10th.
Former RealTime regular Eric Curran pinch hit once again this weekend, for an absent Glenn Bocchino. Glenn instead focused his energies on his i-Moto Racing Grand Am Koni Challenge program that was competing in Iowa. Eric was quickly comfortable in the similar RSX machine that he had driven for three years for the RealTime squad, gridding the car in 10th. In that previously-mentioned skirmish on the restart, he chose the proper lane, allowing him to produce a sixth place finish.
Dino Crescentini was looking to improve on his 14th place starting point, but fell to 18th after an electrical gremlin under the hood forced his retirement before the 17 laps were completed.
So now, with eight of the ten rounds complete, an incredible battle is shaping up the Drivers’ Championship, as three RealTime Acura drivers are in lockstep for the points lead. Wittmer maintains the top of the order with 765 markers, Cunningham runs second with 762, and Kleinubing’s results here in Wisconsin moved him right back into the fray with 760. At no time in the 19-year history of the World Challenge has the fight for the title been so close this late in the season.
“This weekend was also special because we consider Road America our home track. We enjoyed spending time with more than 200 family members and friends of RealTime Racing,” added Cunningham. “The weather was picture-perfect, and the support from our fans helped us perform at our best.”
2002 Speed Arena