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Watkins Glen: Series Touring Car qualifying report

Cunningham Scores First SPEED TC Pole Since 2005 at the Glen WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 7, 2008) -- Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wis., scored his 31st-career SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge pole position, his first since 2005, and will...

Cunningham Scores First SPEED TC Pole Since 2005 at the Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 7, 2008) -- Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wis., scored his 31st-career SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge pole position, his first since 2005, and will lead the SCCA SPEED Touring Car field at the standing start of Sunday's Round Six race at Watkins Glen International. Pierre Kleinubing, of Coconut Creek, Fla., will start second.

Driving the No. 42 Acura/RealTime/Eibach/Red Line Acura TSX, Cunningham turned a fastest time of 2:05.885 (97.231 mph) late in the session to record his first pole position since the season-ending race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2005. He is currently second all-time on the series pole chart, two behind teammate Pierre Kleinubing.

"I got a good lap in at the beginning, but I knew it wasn't a perfect lap," Cunningham said. "Then, on the second lap, I got caught up in traffic. I thought 'okay, I'll come in the pits,' because on the first lap I saw a lot of dust flying anyway and a lot of gravel from overnight, since we were the first ones out this morning.

"So then I was ready to make a run and I left the pits behind Kuno [Wittmer] thinking I could draft him, but then he asked 'hey, can I have a draft?' So, I gave him a draft for one lap. Then, on the next lap, he returned the favor and gave me a huge boost down the back straightaway into the Inner Loop. I hit my marks the rest of the lap and boom, there was the time. I was surprised at just how fast it was, because it was in the fives. I though, 'oh, that's got to be a pretty good time,' and sure enough it was. It was very cool."

Driving the No. 43 Acura/RealTime/Eibach/Red Line Acura TSX, Kleinubing moved to the top spot 16 minutes in to the 25-minute session with a fast time of 2:06.038 (97.113 mph), but he would only stay on top for three minutes before Cunningham jumped over him on the timing charts.

"We just want to get off the line cleanly and we'll try to get through Turn One cleanly and go from there," Cunningham said of starting alongside his teammate. "It should be a great race."

Michael Galati led the majority of the session in his No. 95 Mazda North America/Tindol MAZDA6 with a lap of 2:06.322 (96.895 mph). He will start third.

Point leader Kuno Wittmer (No. 44 Acura/RealTime/Eibach/Red Line Acura TSX) will start fourth after turning a lap of 2:06.636 (96.655 mph). Lime Rock winner Chip Herr will start fifth in his No. 97 Mazdaspeed/Tindol Motorsports MAZDA6 with a time of 2:06.673 (96.626 mph).

Seth Thomas (BMW 325i), Jason Saini (MAZDA6), Dino Crescentini (Acura TSX), Charles Espenlaub (MAZDA6) and Jim Daniels (MAZDA6) completed the top 10.

The 25-minute session was stopped with two minutes remaining after Patrick Lindsey made contact with the Turn 11 tire wall in his No. 57 Horton Motorsports/Sloan Securities MAZDA6. Lindsey was uninjured, but the car will not make the race.

Sunday's SCCA SPEED Touring Car race will make its standing start at 8:35 a.m. (EDT). Live timing and lap notes are available via the SCCA Pit Board at www.world-challenge.com. Sunday's race will be broadcast on SPEED, Wednesday, June 18 at noon.

-credit: scca pro racing

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Series PWC
Drivers Pierre Kleinubing , Michael Galati , Peter Cunningham , Charles Espenlaub , Kuno Wittmer , Chip Herr , Dino Crescentini , Seth Thomas , Jim Daniels , Jason Saini , Patrick Lindsey