Kleinubing gains 15 spots at Atlanta; RealTime Acura RSX recovers from qualifying miscue. June 29, 2003 - Braselton, Georgia - Despite finishing in fifth place, 15 positions higher than he started in today's SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring...
Kleinubing gains 15 spots at Atlanta; RealTime Acura RSX recovers from qualifying miscue.
June 29, 2003 - Braselton, Georgia - Despite finishing in fifth place, 15 positions higher than he started in today's SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car series race at Road Atlanta, Pierre Kleinubing dropped to second place in the series Driver's Championship points, taking Acura to the same spot in the chase for the Manufacturer's Championship.
Driving his #42 RealTime Racing Acura RSX on a damp but drying circuit in qualifying, Kleinubing got caught out in the treacherous conditions on his first flying lap, glancing off a concrete wall. Crew chief Jerome Zimmermann led the repair work to get the wheels pointed closer to the same direction, and with only a few minutes left in the short session, Pierre managed to place the car 20th in the 40-plus car field.
There was no doubt at the drop of the green flag that the three-time series champion would be quite dissatisfied with that starting spot, and was in tenth place by the fourth lap.
"Pierre did an awesome job climbing to the top five positions," said Zimmermann. "Had the accident not happened, there's no doubt he would have finished where we always see him, in the top three.
As the official results showed, Kleinubing missed the podium by 1.002 seconds.
Kleinubing added, "We didn't have enough to beat all the Mazdas and BMWs today. We hate to lose the Manufacturer's points lead, but considering we're not even halfway through the season, the entire RealTime team is full of confidence. After ten years in this series, this isn't a panic for us." Acura is now five points adrift of BMW for the Manufacturer's title.
Going into the fifth race of the season, July 25-27 at Infineon Raceway (nee Sears Point) near San Francisco, Kleinubing is five points behind Road Atlanta and Sebring race winner Bill Auberlen. Each has won two races this season.
Kleinubing's climb through the field took him to ninth place by lap six, to eighth place by lap 10, seventh the next time around, to sixth by lap 17 after a four-lap full-course yellow session to clean up accident debris, and to fifth place on the next-to-last lap.
RealTime Racing's contenders for the Rookie of the Year award, Zac Mazzotta, of Santa Barbara, Calif., and Kevin McKee, of San Francisco, also had unfortunate qualifying sessions which affected their race performance.
Mazzotta's Acura RSX suffered a mechanical problem during qualifying, leaving him stranded in 23rd place on the grid, but picked off five cars in the race to finish 18th. McKee crashed his RealTime Integra in qualifying, damaging it too much to race today.
The Road Atlanta race will air on the SPEED Channel, Saturday, July 19, at 3 p.m. EST.
The RealTime Racing Touring Cars are sponsored by the Acura Division of American Honda, Red Line Oil, Eibach Springs, BOSCH, Sparco, Hella, Gemini Technologies, Goodridge, Brembo, Hawk Performance, and Acura Genuine Parts.