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St. Pete: Touring Car qualifying report

POBST BLAZES TO ST. PETE SPEED TOURING CAR POLE ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 2, 2005) -- Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., blistered the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED Touring Car field to take the Air Force Reserve Pole Position for Sunday's Round Two...

POBST BLAZES TO ST. PETE SPEED TOURING CAR POLE

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 2, 2005) -- Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., blistered the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED Touring Car field to take the Air Force Reserve Pole Position for Sunday's Round Two race, part of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Pierre Kleinubing will line up second.

Driving the No. 73 Mazdaspeed/Tri-Point Motorsport Mazda 6, Pobst ran a blistering lap of 1:22.983 (78.088 mph), more than a second clear of the field. It is Pobst's 12th-career pole position in the World Challenge series, and it puts him in a great position to win his record fourth-consecutive race on a temporary circuit.

"It's the first time all weekend in the Mazda that I've been on new tires," Pobst said. "What we normally do is practice on our tires from the last race, and I think that's part of the reason why my teammate Dino Crescentini was one of the fastest cars out there. His car actually had a problem very early in the race [at Sebring] so he had fresh tires. I ran my tires at the last race very hard, and the first time I was on new tires here was just now.

"I was very pleased with how my car handles. I've been very comfortable here since I got here. The front-wheel-drive arrangement that the Mazda has is good for a tight circuit like this because it's very controllable.

"I was very aggressive in qualifying and really used the curbs a lot. I won't do that in the race because it could damage the car. I think [Crescentini] got a flat tire in [qualifying] due to hitting the curbs hard."

Driving the No. 43 A-SPEC/RealTime Racing Acura TSX, Kleinubing recovered from a practice crash to set a fast time of 1:24.095 (77.055 mph). He edged teammate and Round One (Sebring) winner Peter Cunningham, who ran a 1:24.181 (76.977 mph) in his similar car.

Driving the No. 18 Drew Bledsoe Foundation/STaSIS Audi A4, Chip Herr turned in his career-best qualifying effort in fourth after running a lap of 1:24.219 (76.942 mph). Matt Richmond also turned in his career-best qualifying effort with the fifth-fastest time of 1:24.561 (76.631 mph) in his No. 37 BimmerWorld BMW 325i.

Sunday's 30-lap, 54-mile SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Round Two race is set to make its standing start at 12:45 p.m. (EDT). Live Timing & Scoring and full coverage is available through www.world-challenge.com. Sunday's race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel Sunday, April 10 at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).

-scca pro racing-

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Series PWC
Drivers Randy Pobst , Pierre Kleinubing , Peter Cunningham , Matt Richmond , Chip Herr , Dino Crescentini
Teams RealTime Racing