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Puerto Rico: Team RTR race notes

Team RTR Nissans end season on high note with third podium finish October 26, 2003 - San Juan, Puerto Rico Eric Curran and Peter Cunningham drove the TeamRTR Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V's to third and fourth place finishes today, giving the...

Team RTR Nissans end season on high note with third podium finish

October 26, 2003 - San Juan, Puerto Rico Eric Curran and Peter Cunningham drove the TeamRTR Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V's to third and fourth place finishes today, giving the team its third podium finish of its rookie season in the SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car Championship.

"Eric did another outstanding job," said Cunningham, TeamRTR's owner and defending Touring Car Driver's Champion. "The difference between his race and mine was in tire choice before the race, but the way he was running, he earned that podium finish, and the entire team is proud of him."

Curran finished 30 seconds away from the win. Cunningham was fourth, another 14 seconds back, on the 1.6-mile Isle Grand Prix Circuit in Puerto Rico.

"It rained prior to the start of the race and the track was still wet. We had to decide whether we'd race on dry-track tires, or wets. To split our odds, Eric picked dry tires, and I chose wets. He made the right decision because the track dried out, and his fastest race lap was two seconds faster than mine. In fact, Eric's best lap was only 0.087mph off the fastest lap of the race."

"We have had a remarkable first season racing the new Sentra. Considering the cars didn't even exist at the first race and we never got off the starting line in the second, we're proud that we got our first pole position and race win at Road America, plus two more podium finishes to finish out the year. But our fourth place finish in the Manufacturer's Championship, behind the perennial front runners and ahead of proper efforts from Lexus and Audi teams, shows a lot of promise for the 2004 season," Cunningham added."

Cunningham qualified fourth fastest in the 29-car field, .227 seconds off the pole, while Curran was gridded sixth, another .114 behind his teammate.

A log-jam in the first turn saw Curran fall to 19th place by the end of the first lap, but be recovered to make a meteoric charge to the front - ninth by lap six, sixth by lap nine, fourth by lap 17, and ahead of Cunningham on the 21st lap to take third spot.

"I moved up to third place on the fourth lap, and went along just fine while the road was still wet, but Eric's advantage on drys was just too much. As long as it was a Nissan on the podium, it didn't matter to me whether it was his car or mine," Cunningham said.

The finish boosted Cunningham from seventh to fourth in the final season points, and Curran from 22nd to 18th - he competed in only seven of the 10 races.

"I think it is important to point out that we finished ahead of every one of the many Mazda drivers in the points, and only eight points out of third place," Cunningham said. "That encourages us for next year."

The race will be televised on the SPEED Channel, Saturday, Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. EST.

The TeamRTR Nissan Sentra SE-R effort is sponsored by Nissan North America, Inc., NISMO, Red Line Oil, Eibach Springs, BOSCH, Sparco, Gemini Technologies, and Brembo.

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Series PWC
Drivers Eric Curran