Curran's Acura Wins in Monterey Kleinubing Takes Fourth Title RealTime Nets its 10th World Challenge Championship RealTime Acura's Eric Curran led from the pole position to take the checkered flag in today's season finale of the SCCA SPEED...
Curran's Acura Wins in Monterey Kleinubing Takes Fourth Title
RealTime Nets its 10th World Challenge Championship
RealTime Acura's Eric Curran led from the pole position to take the checkered flag in today's season finale of the SCCA SPEED Touring Car Championship. Curran's dominating victory here at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was the fourth for Acura in the 10-event 2006 season.
The Manufacturers' Championship had already been decided in positive fashion at the previous round, so the pole and win for Acura this weekend was icing on the cake. Eric was the third different RealTime driver to stand on the top step of the podium this season.
The race winner elevated himself to fifth in the points to end the year after spending much of the summer digging himself out of a hole. "If not for that messy event in St. Petersburg, I'd have been a lot higher in the championship," Curran reported. "To finish off the season with a win after starting on the pole--you just couldn't ask for a better day!"
RealTime Racing veteran Pierre Kleinubing started his 100th Touring Car event this weekend, finishing fourth in the race and securing the 2006 Drivers' Championship. The points were close coming into Monterey so Pierre needed a strong result to get the job done. The only competitor who could unseat the RealTime Acura pilot was Mazda's Randy Pobst. Randy was running second on Lap 2 of the 26-lap event when he suffered a broken left front wheel, after being victimized by the newly-installed steep apex curbing. From there, Pierre knew the championship was his and just needed to keep his focus and get to the end. It was his fourth such title and the RealTime team's record-extending 10th.
"It's not just for me, but for this whole team. To have five cars in the top 10 in the points. It's just amazing," Kleinubing elated. "I think that I drove my best season ever. I was patient. I did what I needed to do at the right times."
"This year's fight was the toughest one yet," said 2005 Touring Car titlist Peter Cunningham. "Pierre deserves this championship because he drove with maturity and speed all year long. He might have won in other years since his last title in 2001, but he didn't always catch his share of the breaks along the way. "
Cunningham drove his Acura TSX to a solid third place finish, the 75th podium of his World Challenge career, after a race-long battle with Mazda driver Jeff Altenburg. Peter came into the weekend nine points behind Audi racer Chip Herr for the third spot in the Drivers' Championship. He was able to more than halve the deficit, but the RealTime leader had to settle for fourth in the year's final points tally.
Denver race winner Brandon Davis celebrated his 21st birthday on Saturday but turned in his first race result of the 2006 season outside the top-10. He finished 11th in his Acura TSX after serving a stop-and-go penalty for 'avoidable contact' while scrapping for the fifth spot. After winning the top rookie award in the 2005 season, Brandon proved this year that he could fight for the podium on a weekly basis and finished sixth in the championship.
Nick Esayian's seventh place on the starting grid was a career best for him, and he raced his Acura RSX to an eighth place finish. It was his sixth top-10 finish of the year assisting him to ninth place in the season points.