Kleinubing grabs first Speed Touring Car pole of 2003 at Road Atlanta. BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 16, 2003) -- Pierre Kleinubing, of Brazil, captured his first pole of the 2003 season following qualifying for the Friday's SCCA Speed World Challenge ...
Kleinubing grabs first Speed Touring Car pole of 2003 at Road Atlanta.
BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 16, 2003) -- Pierre Kleinubing, of Brazil, captured his first pole of the 2003 season following qualifying for the Friday's SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car Round Nine race as part of Le Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Peter Cunningham, of West Bend, Wis., and Jeff Altenburg, of Ellicott, Md., qualified second and third, respectively.
Driving the No. 42 RealTime Racing Acura RSX-S, Kleinubing set a new Speed Touring Car qualifying record of 1:37.499 (93.785 mph) on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile circuit at Road Atlanta and will start on the pole. Kleinubing broke the old track record by nearly two seconds.
"Finally," Kleinubing exclaimed. "I have to thank the team. The car was just spectacular. We haven't changed a thing since we got here. We're pretty confident that it will be good for the race as well. I really want to go out of this year on top. I've never finished worse than second in the Championship, and I want to make sure I remain second this year."
This is RealTime Racing's most promising effort since the death of crew chief Jerry Zimmermann in July.
"It's not about being back on top, it's about being back on track," Kleinubing added. "It's been really tough to go out and race without Jerry, not just because he was our friend and our leader, but because he did so much. It's been tough getting everyone to take over what he did and know what their new jobs are. I have really taken over making the shock adjustments, and Jerry used to do that. Andy [Kanehl] used to help Jerry with the engine program, but now he's in charge of it, and he and Kurt [Jung] have done a really good job with it. Everyone is coming together now."
Cunningham qualified his No. 1 TeamRTR/Nissan Motorsports/NISMO Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V second on the grid with his lap time of 1:37.552 (93.734 mph). Cunningham, who has 27 career wins, is gunning for his fifth career win at Road Atlanta. His last win at Road Atlanta came in a Speed Touring Car in 2002.
Altenburg, who is coming of a flag-to-flag victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in September, and who finished second in the June race at Road Atlanta, qualified third thanks to his lap time of 1:37.615 (93.674 mph).
Auberlen, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., is the defending Road Atlanta Speed Touring Car race winner and hopes to repeat that effort in Friday's race, as his No. 93 Turner Motorsport/H & R Springs BMW 325i will start fourth on the grid. Auberlen clinched the SCCA Speed Touring Car Drivers' Championship following the Round Eight race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Bob Stretch, of Dallas, Texas, will start fifth.
Sixteen drivers qualified faster than the old qualifying record set in 2002 by Will Turner, of Newburyport, Mass. The pole tied Kleinubing with Cunningham for the most in series history with 25.
Friday's SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car Championship Round Nine race is set to make its standing start at 11:30 a.m. (EDT). For more information, including live timing and scoring, please visit www.world-challenge.com.
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