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Road America: Touring qualifying report

Kleinubing captures SPEED Touring Car Woody's Ice Pole at Road America in bizarre session. ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (July 6, 2002) -- Brazilian Pierre Kleinubing made his first lap count in an abbreviated SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring...

Kleinubing captures SPEED Touring Car Woody's Ice Pole at Road America in bizarre session.

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (July 6, 2002) -- Brazilian Pierre Kleinubing made his first lap count in an abbreviated SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Woody's Ice Qualifying session to take the pole for Sunday's race, part of the Road America 500 Weekend Presented by the Chicago Tribune. James Sofronas, of Newport Beach, Calif., will start a career-best second, followed by Paul Bonaccorsi, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Driving the No. 1 RealTime Racing Acura Integra R, Kleinubing went out eighth in the session based on his Friday practice times, a position generally not ideal for setting the quick time, but Saturday's qualifying session was one of the more bizarre sessions in recent memory.

Following a lengthy cleanup from the session prior to the SPEED Touring Cars, the 20-minute session was already cut to 15 minutes before the cars went on track to keep the weekend on schedule. Grant Lockwood's Honda Civic Si went out behind the other 42 cars, and became disabled in turn five just as the lead pack came into view on their first flying lap. Bob Stretch, who had been quickest in practice, and thusly first on the grid for qualifying, was the first car to the scene, sliding wide and coming to a stop to avoid hitting the Honda. The next several cars slowed considerably to work through the incident, but Kleinubing had a relatively clean run, along with teammate Peter Cunningham, through the incident.

Kleinubing's lap of 2:35.855 (93.502 mph) was the fastest of any Touring Car on the weekend, but was in jeopardy, as many other cars were impeded by the incident. As if on queue, as the cars started their second flying lap around the 4.048-mile circuit, Robert Baxter slid his Mazda Protégé sideways into the turn 12 gravel, and did a slow roll onto its roof. While the car was relatively unscathed, the session had to be stopped, and the clock ran out before anyone could return to the track.

"I'll take it anyway I can get it," said Kleinubing, who earned his record 23rd World Challenge pole. "This was probably the only way I was going to get the pole. My car is underpowered compared to the others, and this is a big, fast track that doesn't really suit it well."

Driving the No. 35 SSF Imported Auto Parts/Global Motorsports Group BMW 325is, Sofronas turned a fastest lap of 2:35.957 (93.441 mph)--good for second, followed by Bonaccorsi's TriPoint/Mazdaspeed Mazda Protégé, with a 2:36.466. Cunningham, of W. Bend, Wis., was fourth, followed by Taz Harvey, of Danville, Calif.

Round Five of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED Touring Car Championship will take the green lights Sunday morning at 10:10 a.m. (CDT). The race will be broadcast July 27 at 8:00 p.m. (EDT).

-scca pro racing-

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About this article
Series PWC
Drivers Pierre Kleinubing , Peter Cunningham , Taz Harvey , Paul Bonaccorsi , Robert Baxter , Bob Stretch , James Sofronas , Grant Lockwood
Teams RealTime Racing , Global Motorsports Group , HART