CANADA (May 17, 2003) -- Brazil's Pierre Kleinubing won his 17th-career SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car race Saturday at Mosport International Raceway, holding off a late attack from Bill Auberlen, of Hermosa Beach, Calif. The...
CANADA (May 17, 2003) -- Brazil's Pierre Kleinubing won his 17th-career SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car race Saturday at Mosport International Raceway, holding off a late attack from Bill Auberlen, of Hermosa Beach, Calif. The win was the first for the Acura RSX Type S in series competition. Mike Fitzgerald, of Phoenix, Ariz., finished third.
Driving the No. 42 RealTime Racing Acura RSX-S, Kleinubing started third and advanced to second when the Mazda Protege of Jeff Altenburg broke a throttle shaft on lap five. Five laps later, the four-time Mosport winner dove inside leader Fitzgerald in turn 5B, taking several cars with him. Auberlen, who started eighth in the No. 93 H&R Springs/Turner Motorsport BMW 325i, worked his way into second by lap 12 and hounded Kleinubing for the remainder of the 28-lap, 68.852-mile contest. Kleinubing won by 0.318-second, averaging 83.765 mph in the race slowed for four laps by a late race caution.
"I thought I would finish third today, but Altenburg had a problem and Mike fell back," said Kleinubing, who is now just one point behind Auberlen in the Drivers' Championship. "I don't think Bill wanted to win today. He moved through the field and then just kind of stayed behind me."
Auberlen, who absolutely dominated Round One at Sebring International Raceway in March, could only manage eighth on the grid after opting not to participate in Thursday's test day and Friday's wet practice sessions, but kept his point lead by moving up to second.
"The REWARDS weight I'm carrying from Sebring made a big difference in the straight line speed, and I didn't really have anything for Pierre on power," said Auberlen, who also won the pole position for Sunday's SCCA Speed GT Championship race. "On the last lap, he dropped a wheel off in turn one, but he kept his foot in it and I couldn't get by him."
Fitzgerald recorded the first-ever pole position for a Lexus automobile in his No. 81 Team FBR/Trans Sport Lexus IS 300 and seemed to be in control early, but fell to the clutches of Kleinubing, and then battled back to third in the final laps.
"I got used to driving by myself that I stopped paying attention and Pierre [Kleinubing] just stuffed it in there," said Fitzgerald. "Then I kind of got freight-trained and fell back to around sixth. The late caution helped me cool off my tires, and I was able to run hard at the end. This is the best car we've had since the Lexus program started last year."
Turner, of Newburyport, Mass., finished fourth and Jon Prall, of Cupertino, Calif., finished fifth after running as high as third in his Audi A4. Kleinubing's win knotted-up the Manufacturers' Championship Presented by Racer Magazine, with BMW and Acura tied at 16 points. Lexus is third, with eight, followed by Audi and Mazda.
Michael Flynn, of Orlando, Fla., was awarded the B&M Holeshot Award advancing from 43rd to 37th on the first lap. Christian Elder, of Denver, N.C., took the Sunoco Hard Charger Award after moving from a 37th starting position to finish 19th.
Today's SCCA Speed Touring Car race will be broadcast on Speed Channel Saturday, May 24 at 4:00 p.m. Round Three of the 2003 Championship is set for May 26 at Lime Rock Park.
-scca pro racing-