Kleinubing tops classic Lime Rock speed Touring Car vent. LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 27, 2002) -- Brazilian Pierre Kleinubing had to battle BMWs, Hondas and his teammate, but managed to put his Acura Integra Type R on top by the finish of a wild SCCA...
Kleinubing tops classic Lime Rock speed Touring Car vent.
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 27, 2002) -- Brazilian Pierre Kleinubing had to battle BMWs, Hondas and his teammate, but managed to put his Acura Integra Type R on top by the finish of a wild SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car race today at the Mohegan Sun Presents Lime Rock Park Grand Prix. Finishing 0.986-second behind was Peter Cunningham, of W. Bend, Wis., and Taz Harvey, of Danville, Calif., completed the top three. Kleinubing averaged 81.184 mph.
Kleinubing started third in his No. 1 RealTime Racing entry--right behind team owner Cunningham's similar entry, but it was the BMW 325Ci of Ken Dobson that jumped all the way from seventh on the grid to take the lead going into the first corner on the standing start. Dobson led the next 23 tours of the 40-lap, 61.2-mile event, while Kleinubing chased. On lap 17, Cunningham, who had been chasing the two moved to the inside of Kleinubing in turn one, making light contact with his driver, and knocking him back to third.
For the next six laps, Cunningham made moves on Dobson all over the track, finally surging into the lead on lap 24 in turn one, taking his teammate along into second. Harvey, who started ninth in the No. 8 NN Racing/Skunk2/CzechBeer.com Honda Civic Si, had gradually moved up to join the fight. On lap 30, Cunningham was the first to arrive to turn three, and a puddle of oil. Attempting to warn his teammate and find his way through the slick situation, Cunningham slid off course, as did Dobson in third, allowing Harvey to move around both into second, behind Kleinubing. Bobby Sak's BMW 325i also benefited, moving into fourth.
Sak's run ended four laps later, as he came up on lapped traffic, getting bogged down, receiving a chain reaction tap from Dobson, which put him on top of the tire wall heading into the fast downhill turn. The incident brought out a yellow to retrieve the car. Sak walked away unscathed.
On the lap-37 restart, Harvey got a run on Kleinubing and took the lead on the front straight, only to relinquish it in turn one, and then regain it by turn three. One lap later, Kleinubing would make the same move, retaking the lead. On lap 39, just prior to the white flag, Cunningham was able to do the same, to drop the Honda to third at the finish. It was Kleinubing's second-straight win at the Lime Rock Park circuit.
"Today was one of those days where it was better to be lucky than good," said Kleinubing, who extended his points lead to seven over Dobson, who finished fourth. " 'PD' [Cunningham] was definitely faster than I was at the beginning, but the car was really running well at the end. Taz [Harvey] was able to get by me on the restart, and at that point I was ready to settle for second, but was able to make almost the same move one lap later to take the lead."
Cunningham's second was a season best, and he was happy to share the podium with teammate Kleinubing.
"I'm happy to finish second, when my teammate is on the top spot on the podium," said Cunningham. "I saw the oil on the track and was able to yell 'oil, oil, oil' on the radio to warn Pierre, just as I was sliding off the track."
On the early contact with his teammate, Cunningham kept his sense of humor.
"It was bad communication on my part. I really wanted to get by him. I didn't touch him, but we did have negative clearance between us."
Harvey, who found himself in the lead for the first time in years, said it was a struggle for his team, which has the smallest engine in the field.
"The Honda Civic Si has a 1.6-liter engine, so it is really peaky on power," said Harvey. "I had to rev it really hard to stay with the lead pack.
"It feels great to be back on the podium! It was an exciting race in front of the huge crowd we have here today."
Dobson, of Carmel Valley, Calif., battled fading front tires to finish fourth, followed by teammate Mark Kirberg, of Madera, Calif., who started 27th. Walter Markes Jr., of The Bronx, N.Y., passed 10 cars on the first lap to earn the B&M Holeshot Award.
Cunningham moved into third in points behind Dobson, with 73, followed by Harvey (65) and rookie Kirberg (62). Round Four of the 11-race Championship will take place June 29-30 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Monday's Lime Rock race will air on SPEED Channel Saturday, June 8 at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern).
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