ESPENLAUB'S MAZDA FASTEST IN SPEED TOURING CAR CLEVELAND PRACTICE CLEVELAND (June 24, 2005) -- Charles Espenlaub, of Lutz, Fla., was fastest in both SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car practice sessions Friday at the Champ Car...
ESPENLAUB'S MAZDA FASTEST IN SPEED TOURING CAR CLEVELAND PRACTICE
CLEVELAND (June 24, 2005) -- Charles Espenlaub, of Lutz, Fla., was fastest in both SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car practice sessions Friday at the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank at Burke Lakefront Airport. Point leader Peter Cunningham, of West Bend, Wis., and Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., completed the top three.
They say that good things come to those who wait, and Espenlaub waited through the first three races of the season in an older car while his Tindol Motorsports crew readied his brand-new No. 97 Sparco/Oakley/Tindol Mazda 6 that was premiered in May at Mid-Ohio. Espenlaub "won" practice for the first time in his SPEED Touring Car career, turning a fastest time of 1:24.740 (89.469 mph) in the series second, evening session.
"I like it, it adds spice to the series," Espenlaub said about the SPEED World Challenge returning to Burke Lakefront Airport road course for the first time since 1992. "I've got to admit, I was excited to hear that the series added the race to this year's schedule because I remember watching this race as a kid. This track is a lot different than anything we've raced on before. You definitely have to make adjustments to your driving style."
Cunningham turned the second fastest lap of the day with a 1:24.817 (89.387 mph) in his No. 42 A-SPEC/RealTime Racing Acura TSX. This was Cunningham's first appearance on the 10-turn, 2.106 mile temporary circuit since winning 1997 North American Touring Car Championship race.
Pobst made his return to this circuit by piloting the No. 73 Mazdaspeed/Tri-Point Motorsport Mazda 6 to the third fastest lap with a 1:25.427 (88.749 mph). The last time Pobst competed at Burke Lakefront Airport was in 1997 when he won the North American Touring Car Privateer Class race.
Pierre Kleinubing, Coconut Creek, Fla., posted the fourth-quickest time, while teammate Eric Curran, of South Deerfield, Mass., rounded out the top five.
Local driver and five-time World Challenge Drivers' Champion Michael Galati, of Olmsted, Ohio, and Freddy Baker, of Bedford, Ohio, were seventh and ninth quick, respectively.
In all, seven different types of car (Mazda 6, Acura TSX, Acura RSX, Ford Focus, Mercedes-Benz, Audi A4 and Subaru WRX) cracked the top 10.
The SPEED Touring Car Championships take to the track for qualifying at 11:30 a.m. (EDT), Saturday, with the Round Five race set for 5:45 p.m.
For all weekend information, including live timing and scoring, visit www.world-challenge.com.
-scca pro racing-