LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 26, 2001)- Bill Auberlen, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., changed to wet tires moments prior to the start of the SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge Touring Car Championship Round Four Race at Lime Rock Park, requiring him...
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 26, 2001)- Bill Auberlen, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., changed to wet tires moments prior to the start of the SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge Touring Car Championship Round Four Race at Lime Rock Park, requiring him to start from pit lane. It didn't matter, however, as he sliced through the field to take the win in his first series appearance. Point leader Pierre Kleinubing held on for second, followed by Terry McCarthy, of Mountain View, Calif.
Driving the No. 93 H&R Springs BMW 328is, Auberlen qualified 26th out of 44 cars, but made the change to wet tires as the cars sat on the grid, requiring him to start from pit lane. He worked his way through the field as the rain progressively fell harder, passing Kleinubing's No. 1 RealTime Racing Acura Integra R, who struggled to stay on the road on dry tires, with eight laps remaining to take a 11.517-second win, averaging 62.920 mph in the 35-lap, 53.55-mile contest.
"The weather was going from bad, to worse-to worse," said Auberlen. "The reason I'm out here today is Turner Motorsports. This was my first time in the car and my first race. We get our first victory after starting dead last. Can you believe that?
"It was just one of those days where everything came together and happened perfectly. But it took a lot of work getting through all of those cars."
Kleinubing started ninth on the grid, but moved to third at the start, behind polesitter Neal Sapp and David Leslie. As Sapp fell back, Kleinubing watched Leslie's No. 2 Mirko Racing Mazda 626 take off on a wet setup, leading by as much as 14 seconds. When Leslie pitted with a fogged windshield, the Brazilian took the point.
Kleinubing held on to the lead until a late-race caution bunched the field, allowing Auberlen to strike. Kleinubing's second-place finish extended his point lead to 18.
"We thought the track would eventually dry out, so we started the race with a dry setup," said Kleinubing, who had won two-straight races leading up to Lime Rock. "The rain never really lifted, and when Bill [Auberlen] started to pull away, I wasn't surprised at all.
"The last two or three laps, it was really bad and I had to hang on for dear life. I even drove off the last time around. But it was a pretty good run, overall, and very important for the Championship to finish where we did."
McCarthy had run second to Kleinubing, and completed a steady race in his No. 23 FMG/Image Micro/Dinan BMW 328is to earn his first-career podium finish.
"My windshield was so foggy at points, I had to loosen my belts under the caution to wipe my windshield clear with the fingertips on my glove," said McCarthy. "The Dinan crew really did a great job on the rain setup. We changed springs, bars and shocks before the start."
Running a wet set-up, Brazilian Carlos Steyer had a great run in a team car to Kleinubing to finish a career-best fourth, after starting 34th.
Leslie pitted no less than three times to clear his windshield, but came back for a fifth place finish while setting the fastest race lap, earning the Borla Performance Award for his efforts.
Auberlen's official starting position, 26th, was the furthest back a Speedvision World Challenge race winner has started in the series' 11-year history.