Altenburg leads Tri-Point Motorsports effort at Road Atlanta. October 17, 2003. Braselton, GA. Coming off of a victorious weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car competition, Jeff Altenburg was looking to...
Altenburg leads Tri-Point Motorsports effort at Road Atlanta.
October 17, 2003. Braselton, GA. Coming off of a victorious weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car competition, Jeff Altenburg was looking to repeat the feat at Road Atlanta, where he finished second to Bill Auberlen earlier in the season. Altenburg would have to settle for his third second place finish of the season in his Tri-Point Motorsports Mazdaspeed Mazda Protege, finishing behind Pierre Kleinubing in round nine of the championship, while teammate Shauna Marinus was knocked off track in a first corner incident and forced to drive back through the field.
"As always, the Tri-Point Team did a fantastic job of keeping the car tip top all weekend and there were no mechanical problems in the race," Altenburg said afterwards. "We had a good car all week and missed the pole by just over a tenth of a second. In qualifying, we have to get it done in the first lap or two since the chance of going faster after that is slim. I didn't get a perfect lap in so I started 3rd."
Altenburg was in the thick of the battle from the drop of the green flag, dropping a spot to newly crowned champion Auberlen, only to regain the position and move into second when PD Cunningham got turned around on the opening lap. Now securely in second place, Altenburg set his sights on Kleinubing. "I had a couple of chances to try a pass on Pierre at the end of the back straight after drafting up on him, but it was going to be a low percentage move, so I let discretion take over and maintained my position," Altenburg explained. "The last few laps PD was coming on strong, but we held on for another second place finish."
While Altenburg was able to avoid trouble and slide through into second place, Marinus was not so fortunate, getting knocked into the gravel trap in the first corner as cars jostled for position. Forced a lap down in the process, Marinus would battle her way back from last to finish 27th overall. "It's frustrating when things like this happen," Marinus commented. "Tri-Point had given me great car, and during the race I was running times that were as fast as those running in the top ten."
As the series now heads to the season finale in Puerto Rico, Altenburg now sits in fifth place in the championship, one point behind Roger Foo, while Marinus is just outside of the top ten in eleventh place. "While the championship has been decided there are still points, and positions to be gained," Altenburg opined. "Tri-Point Motorsports has been a threat all season long and it would be great to wrap up the season with a victory."
Round Ten of the SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car Championship will be held on October 24-26 at the Isle Grand Prix Circuit in San Juan, Puerto Rico alongside the Motorock Trans-Am Tour.
For more information about Tri-Point Motorsports please visit www.tripointengineering.com.