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Road Atlanta: Tri-Point Motorsports race notes

Tri-Point Motorsports Shows Promise With New Mazda 6 as Altenburg and Marinus Tackle Road Atlanta for SCCA Speed World-Challenge Event September 27, 2004 Phoenix, Arizona - The speed was undeniably evident for Tri-Point Motorsports drivers ...

Tri-Point Motorsports Shows Promise With New Mazda 6 as Altenburg and Marinus Tackle Road Atlanta for SCCA Speed World-Challenge Event

September 27, 2004 Phoenix, Arizona - The speed was undeniably evident for Tri-Point Motorsports drivers Shauna Marinus and Jeff Altenburg as they piloted their Mazda 6s to competitive lap times at the 9th round of the 2004 SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car series at Road Atlanta. Ultimately though, transmission reliability issues hampered better race finishes, with Altenburg taking his #72 car to the checkered flag in 8th place despite losing 3rd and 5th gears, and Marinus finishing her race early with a failed clutch.

The Atlanta event was the first time that Tri-Point had Mazda 6s available for both of its drivers, and the speed shown off the trailer was encouraging. During qualifying, Marinus was able to secure a 5th place starting position with a lap of 1minute 36.2 seconds around the undulating 2.45 mile natural terrain road course. Altenburg, despite losing 5th gear in the qualifying session, was still able to hustle his car to a lap time of 1minute 36.5 seconds, placing him solidly in 11th place amidst a very competitive field, where 19 of the 34 cars entered broke the existing track record.

Although Marinus had not turned a wheel in her ride until the Road Atlanta event, she was quickly comfortable with the car, and showed confidence from the first lap. She attributed part of her ability to get up to speed quickly to the car and her teammate.

"I liked the car a lot," remarked Marinus following the event. "It was very driveable, and Jeff had already worked out a good setup. It broke better and drove better than the Protege, and even though it definitely has more torque, it didn't get nearly as much wheelspin. The 6 is a bit heavier than the Protege, but the steering is very responsive."

Altenburg, who had driven the Mazda 6 in previous races was also very happy with the speed the car showed, but had hoped for greater reliability.

"We were going to the front," said Jeff after the event which saw him placed as high as 2nd before having gearbox problems. "The handling was great with good power from Sunbelt, and the brakes were really good. By the time I got by Espenlaub (Protege) and Marks (BMW) the lead pack had gapped us. Although it was fortunate for us that several cars broke, we were going to get by them anyhow. We were running about 0.5 seconds a lap quicker. We just need a bit of reliability."

The Tri-Point crew worked hard to keep the two cars in the hunt for the weekend, and their efforts weren't lost on either driver.

"The Tri-Point guys did a terrific job," said Altenburg. "They had to change three trannies in my car." "The guys did a great job," echoed Marinus. "These guys are always there 100 percent, and I've always been happy with the cars they've given me."

Altenburg, Marinus, and the entire Tri-Point Motorsports crew are looking forward to the next event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca near Monterey, California. They are hoping to further show what they and the new Mazda 6 can do. The 10th and final round of the 2004 SCCA Speed World Challenge series is set to start Sunday, October 17.

For more comprehensive scheduling and broadcast information be sure to log onto www.world-challenge.com

Tri-Point Motorsports would like to thank all of the sponsors that have been a part of their 2004 effort, including, Mazda, Mazdaspeed Motorpsorts Development, Racing Hart, Stop Tech, Recaro, Crocotile, Quarter Master, Ron Davis Racing, Hawk, Koni NA, and Pro Parts USA.

Keep up to date with all of the Mazda 6 race action at www.Tripointengineering.com.

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Series PWC
Drivers Jeff Altenburg