Kleinubing's Acura Third at Sebring RealTime places four teammates in Top-Eight RealTime Racing began the quest today for its 11th SCCA World Challenge Drivers' and Manufacturers' Championships at Sebring International Raceway. The team placed...
Kleinubing's Acura Third at Sebring
RealTime places four teammates in Top-Eight
RealTime Racing began the quest today for its 11th SCCA World Challenge Drivers' and Manufacturers' Championships at Sebring International Raceway. The team placed four of its five Acura Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles-sponsored cars in the top eight spots of the season-opening race of the 2007 SPEED Touring Car Championship.
Defending Drivers' Champion Pierre Kleinubing, making his 101st Touring Car start and with the #1 badge on his Acura TSX, roared to a third place finish - behind two Mazdas - to lead the team.
Kleinubing qualified fifth quickest, two spots behind new teammate Kuno Wittmer in an Acura RSX, but passed both BMW driver Seth Thomas and Wittmer in the first two laps to take the "show" position which he never relinquished.
"The Mazdas were awfully fast today, it was all I could do to keep them in my sights," said Kleinubing. "My Acura seemed to have the advantage on a couple of the important corners, but whenever I'd close the gap, they'd just squirt away on the next straight."
RealTime team leader and four-time World Challenge titlist Peter Cunningham finished fifth in his TSX, after starting 11th. "I got passed by at least two cars at the start, but hung in there and I was able to race my way back towards the front," Cunningham reported. "The TSXs didn't have the speed in qualifying, but I was pleased that I was able to run a steady pace to get back up there."
Cunningham also had high praise for Wittmer, the team's newest member. "Kuno started racing front-wheel drive cars when he was only 16 years old and hopped into this Acura for the first time and went like a rocket. His performance today was hampered with a mechanical problem or he surely would have finished ahead of me."
Wittmer ran in close quarters with Kleinubing for much of the day before fading to seventh by the end of the 18-lap contest.
Brandon Davis qualified his TSX 14th and moved up to eighth, while Nick Esayian's similar Acura started and finished16th after suffering brake bias problems.
The SPEED Touring Car Championship will reconvene on May 19 at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, Utah, where Pierre Kleinubing last year recorded his 28th career win and RealTime's 60th.