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Mosport: Touring Car qualifying report

Herr Gets Last Laugh In SPEED Touring Car Qualifying at Mosport CANADA (Sept. 2, 2006) Chip Herr, of Lititz, Pa., captured his first SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car pole of the year after swapping the top spot with at least...

Herr Gets Last Laugh In SPEED Touring Car Qualifying at Mosport

CANADA (Sept. 2, 2006) Chip Herr, of Lititz, Pa., captured his first SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car pole of the year after swapping the top spot with at least four other drivers during a 20-minute session that saw conditions go from damp to dry at Mosport International Raceway. Defending race winner Charles Espenlaub, of Lutz, Fla., will start Sunday's race second.

After a brief shower dampened the SPEED GT session earlier in the hour, the rain ceased for the most part and allowed a line to dry around the rolling 2.459-mile circuit. Herr, taking advantage of the quattro all-wheel-drive system on his No. 17 Agincourt Autohaus/STaSIS Audi A4, took the point early in the session as many predicted. However, as the track dried, several drivers jumped to the top of the charts.

Peter Cunningham (No. 1 Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Racing Acura TSX), Randy Pobst (No. 73 Tri-Point Motorsports/Mazdaspeed Mazda 6), rookie Andrew Wojteczko (No. 64 Auto Analyser Services Lexus IS300), Pierre Kleinubing (No. 42 Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Racing Acura TSX) and Eric Curran (No. 43 Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Racing Acura RSX) all traded the top spot as the times dropped eight seconds from the initial laps to the end.

As the session wound down, Herr, who had made a call to the pits, returned to the circuit behind point leader Kleinubing and turned a fastest time of 1:31.143 (97.126 mph) to earn the second pole of his career.

"At first we were excited for the first lap in the rain because that's all-wheel-drive weather," Herr, who has two wins on the season including two weeks ago at Road America, said. "Then it started to dry up. The first three laps I really thought I had in the bag because I was driving around with Randy [Pobst] and Peter [Cunningham] and it was like a game. But it started to dry out and everybody was going three seconds faster. I came in to check tire pressures and we were going to wait to go back out to make sure our tires were the best they could. When we went back out, I hooked up with Pierre. He was driving the same way I was, so I could use him as a draft on the back straightaway for my fast lap."

Herr was not shy about his weather preference for Sunday morning's race.

"Rain, anything from a drizzle to a all-rain, because that's where our car really works," he said. "Coming out of the corner and under braking is the only real advantage we have. Our cars are heavy to begin with, so this is the advantage we have. If it would snow, that'd be good too."

Moments before the checkered flag flew, Pobst and Kuno Wittmer (No. 06 De Sigi Autosport/Autohaus Motorsports Mercedes-Benz C230 Coupe) drafted together to move to second and third. However, just after time expired, Cunningham and Espenlaub jumped ahead as they completed their final laps.

Espenlaub, who lurked in the bottom of the top 10 for most of the session in his No. 97 Sparco/Oakley/Tindol Motorsports Mazda 6, completes the front row for the second-straight race with Herr after turning a lap of 1:31.253 (97.009 mph). Espenlaub was on pole at Road America, but followed Herr from start to finish to come home second.

Cunningham, who was second at Mosport to Espenlaub in 2005, will line up third with a lap of 1:31.266 (96.995 mph). Pobst, with a time of 1:31.327 (96.930 mph) and Wittmer, with a 1:31.333 (96.924 mph), completed the top five.

Point leader Kleinubing, Toronto's Wojteczko, James Clay (BMW 325i), Brandon Davis (Acura TSX) and Christian Miller (Volkswagen Jetta) completed the top 10.

Sunday's Round Eight race is scheduled to make its standing start Sunday at 11 a.m. (EDT). To follow all the action via Live Timing and Scoring Presented by SRT and live lap notes, please visit the SCCA Pit Board via the event page on www.world-challenge.com.

Sunday's race will be broadcast Sunday, Sept. 10 at 3 p.m. (EDT) on SPEED.

-credit: scca pro racing

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Series PWC
Drivers Randy Pobst , Pierre Kleinubing , Peter Cunningham , Eric Curran , Charles Espenlaub , James Clay , Kuno Wittmer , Chip Herr , Brandon Davis , Andrew Wojteczko , Chris Miller
Teams RealTime Racing