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Mid-Ohio: Touring Car qualifying report

Cunningham Takes Second-Straight SPEED TC Pole at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio (July 19, 2008) -- Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wis., went more than two seasons without a pole position, but he took his second SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World...

Cunningham Takes Second-Straight SPEED TC Pole at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio (July 19, 2008) -- Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wis., went more than two seasons without a pole position, but he took his second SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car pole in-a-row Saturday in preparation for Sunday's Round Seven race, part of the Acura Sports Car Challenge/Honda Indy 200 weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Teammate Kuno Wittmer, of Montreal, will start second.

Driving the No. 42 Acura/RealTime/Eibach/Red Line Acura TSX, Cunningham turned a fastest time of 1:33.301 (87.124 mph) around the 2.258-mile circuit to lead the field. It was Cunningham's 32nd-career pole position, drawing within one of record-holder, and teammate, Pierre Kleinubing's current mark of 33.

"I had an awesome draft," Cunningham said. "I gapped it right and the Acuras are hooked up. We love this place. I was surprised at what the lap time was, but I knew it had to be a pretty good lap. I got a sense that I had caught Pierre and Kuno just a little bit, so when I heard the running order it was like 'okay, cool.'"

After watching Mazdas pace Friday's practice, Wittmer made it an all-Acura front row in his No. 44 Acura/RealTime/Eibach/Red Line Acura TSX with a fast lap of 1:33.568 (86.876 mph).

"I think that the strength [of the RealTime Acuras] are that we have a very consistent car," Cunningham added. "I think we can have a good car at the end of the race. Our weakness is the straightaway. It's all very close, but we're just a little bit lacking in that department."

Mazdas will occupy the second row, with Cleveland native Jason Saini missing the second spot by just 0.003-second in his No. 74 Mazdaspeed/Stoptech/Racinghart MAZDA6 with a lap of 1:33.571 (86.873 mph). Chip Herr, of Lititz, Pa., who was fastest in practice in the No. 97 Mazdaspeed/Tindol Motorsports MAZDA6, will start fourth after turning a fast time of 1:33.658 (86.792 mph).

Dino Crescentini, of Manhattan Beach, Calif., completed the top five with his best qualifying effort since moving to RealTime Racing, with a 1:33.695 (86.758 mph) in the No. 46 Acura/RealTime/Eibach/Red Line Acura TSX.

Charles Espenlaub (MAZDA6), Jim Daniels (MAZDA6), Michael Galati (MAZDA6), point leader Pierre Kleinubing (Acura TSX) and James Clay (BMW 325i) completed the top 10. The top 13 cars were all within one second of the pole position time.

Sunday's Round Seven race for the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship will make its standing start at 9:15 a.m. (EST) Sunday morning. Live lap notes and timing are available during the event through the SCCA Pit Board at www.world-challenge.com. The race will be broadcast Thursday, July 24 at 12 p.m. (EST) on SPEED.

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Series PWC
Drivers Pierre Kleinubing , Michael Galati , Peter Cunningham , Charles Espenlaub , James Clay , Kuno Wittmer , Chip Herr , Dino Crescentini , Jim Daniels , Jason Saini
Teams RealTime Racing