RealTime Keeps Speed Podium at Mid-Ohio Mirrors Drivers' Points Standings The RealTime Acura team battled through the 2009 Mid-Ohio Acura Sports Car Challenge, returning to the podium again for the sixth time in the seventh round of the...
RealTime Keeps Speed
Podium at Mid-Ohio Mirrors Drivers' Points Standings
The RealTime Acura team battled through the 2009 Mid-Ohio Acura Sports Car Challenge, returning to the podium again for the sixth time in the seventh round of the ten-event SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship. Peter Cunningham led the Acura contingent with a second place finish. Charging through the field behind him to finish in third was Pierre Kleinubing. Defending Mid-Ohio race winner Kuno Wittmer suffered an electrical glitch, but rebounded to a seventh place finish.
As the race got underway, Kleinubing was called to the pit to serve a stop-and-go penalty for movement before the start. Fortunately, a second full-course caution allowed him to catch back up to the field. He then fought hard and picked his way toward the top of the pack. Although the Sunoco Hard Charger Award went to winner and Mazda driver Jason Saini for moving past the most cars from his starting position, no one passed more cars than Kleinubing. Although not the victor, Kleinubing did take some spoils. With four laps to go on the 27-lap contest, Kleinubing earned the AutoWeek Move of the Race for his pass on Seth Thomas' BMW in Turn 11 for third place. Kleinubing also earned the Debaufre Fastest Lap of the Race with a best time of 1:35.713.
The Touring Car races have run green from flag to flag this year until the previous round two weeks ago. Here at Mid-Ohio, there were two full course cautions which both required high-intensity restarts.
On lap nine, Cunningham and Eric Foss made contact, sending the Acura driver careening off the track. He struggled to regain control and returned to the track sideways when another competitor slammed him in the driver's-side door. Cunningham was knocked down to fifth place.
Down, but not out, Cunningham returned to the fight with a wounded but still strong TSX and worked his way back up to retake his lost second place position. After the hit, Cunningham's Acura TSX handled differently, "I felt like I had a little bit of a different toe in on the right rear, but I guess it must have been on the left rear. That made the left-handers a bit of a trick, but the right-handers were beautiful. It actually helped in the right-handers."
RTR driver Wittmer caught an unfortunate electrical glitch, which crippled his chances of capturing the elusive checkered flag. He was able to make a pit stop under a yellow and managed to battle his way back to a hard-earned seventh place finish.
Acura is now three points behind Mazda in the Manufacturers' Points with three races left in the season. The battle is too close to call, and Acura is not giving up. The top three in the Drivers' Points standings mirror the podium finishers at Mid-Ohio. Saini sits in first with 733, Cunningham keeps the second spot with 670, Kleinubing just 21 points below at 649 in third. Thomas remains in fourth with 614 and Wittmer maintains fifth with 595.
The focus now quickly shifts from Mid-Ohio to the next race in the SPEED World Challenge Touring Car series this weekend on August 14-16 at Road America. The RTR team considers this their home track, located in Elkhart Lake, just 40 minutes up the road from their headquarters. They will be entertaining friends and family and everyone is looking forward to an exciting weekend with Wisconsin's great summer weather.
This action-packed Mid-Ohio race is one to remember. Don't miss the SPEED channel broadcast on September 1 at 2:00p EDT.