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Lime Rock: Touring Car race report

Kleinubing scores SCCA Speed Touring car win at soggy Lime Rock Park LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 26, 2003) -- Pierre Kleinubing, of Brazil, battled heavy rains, a damp track and 50 other competitors to win his fourth SCCA Pro Racing Speed Touring Car...

Kleinubing scores SCCA Speed Touring car win at soggy Lime Rock Park

LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 26, 2003) -- Pierre Kleinubing, of Brazil, battled heavy rains, a damp track and 50 other competitors to win his fourth SCCA Pro Racing Speed Touring Car event at Lime Rock Park, in Lakeville, Conn., as part of the Mohegan Sun Presents The Lime Rock Park Grand Prix Weekend. Rookie Matt Plumb, of Newport, R.I., and Jon Prall, of Cupertino, Calif., completed the top three.

Driving the No. 42 RealTime Racing Acura RSX-S, Kleinubing, long known to be a master in the rain, was able to move from fourth to second when the lights went out for the standing start. Behind the leaders, competitors were sliding off course in the treacherous conditions.

While Kleinubing was able to get away cleanly at the start, polesitter Will Turner, of Newburyport, Mass., was not so lucky, receiving a stop-and-go penalty on lap three for leaving his starting box prior to the lights going out.

Having passed Turner for the lead just prior to the penalty, Kleinubing only had to deal with the lapped traffic and the worsening conditions to capture his 18th-career SCCA Speed Touring Car victory and his fourth at Lime Rock Park in the last six years, including the event last year. The final margin of victory for Kleinubing in the 38-lap event was 16.664 seconds, averaging 68.566 seconds.

"The conditions were super bad," said Kleinubing. "My plan was to follow Matt [Plumb] at the start. I went to the outside and all the chaos happened on the inside, so by not doing anything and minding my own business, I found myself in second place by turn two.

"My car felt good, and once I got by Will [Turner] the car was really hooked up. I think if I really had to push the car, I could have gotten more out of it."

Starting from the outside of the front row, Plumb fell back at the start in the No. 50 duPont Motorsport/ERT/BMW 325i, running 11th by the end of lap one. Moving back into the top five by lap seven, Plumb battled with defending series Champion Peter Cunningham, of W. Bend, Wis., moving around the three-time Speed World Challenge Champion for second with eight laps remaining.

"The start was just out of control," said Plumb. "I got a pretty bad start at the standing start, having never done them before this season. I had absolutely no grip but it was probably a good thing as I was behind the spin on the first lap. I was practically parked in turn one with Bill's [Auberlen] car facing me. I'm not sure how far back I fell, but I was gradually able to work my way back to the front."

Starting from the seventh row, Prall was able to take advantage of the all-wheel drive quattro in his No. 78 STaSIS Engineering/Audi of Fairfield Audi A4 to jump up to sixth position. For the majority of the event, he battled with Plumb, Cunningham and Ken Dobson, of Carmel Valley, Calif., eventually claiming third place late in the race, his career best.

"I didn't want to spin the wheels too badly, so I didn't put in as good of a start as I could," said Prall. "It was when I saw my teammate [Justin Bell] take off that realized that I could have done a better job. After that, I was just trying to stay out of trouble and find a clean line through the first turn. After that, I tried to keep my nose clean. It feels great to get my first podium finish."

Bill Auberlen, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., who spun back to 44th at the start, and Dobson completed the top five.

With the win, Kleinubing passes Auberlen for the lead in the Drivers' Championship point standings, 93 points for Kleinubing compared to 85 for Auberlen. Turner, Prall and Roger Foo complete the top five, with 61, 58 and 58 points, respectively.

In the Manufacturers' Championship, Acura holds a slim lead over BMW, with 25 and 23 points, respectively, followed by Lexus with eight, Audi with seven and Mazda with six.

Brad Sofronas, of Newport Beach, Calif., received the B&M Holeshot Award for passing 19 cars on the opening lap of the event. Charles Espenlaub, of Lutz, Fla., was presented the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for improving the most positions of any competitors during the event.

The SCCA Speed Touring Car Championship next travels to Road Atlanta June 27-29 for Round Four of the ten race schedule. For more information, please visit www.world-challenge.com.

-scca pro racing-

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Series PWC
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Justin Bell , Pierre Kleinubing , Peter Cunningham , Will Turner , Charles Espenlaub , Roger Foo , Matt Plumb , Jon Prall
Teams RealTime Racing