Kleinubing's RTR Acura 2nd at SPEED WC Opener Cunningham's '09 TSX 9th Pierre Kleinubing, a four-time winner of the Drivers' Championship in the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car series, started the 2009 season in strong fashion...
Kleinubing's RTR Acura 2nd at SPEED WC Opener
Cunningham's '09 TSX 9th
Pierre Kleinubing, a four-time winner of the Drivers' Championship in the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car series, started the 2009 season in strong fashion with a second place today at Sebring International Raceway.
RealTime Racing's 12-year veteran Kleinubing qualified on the pole, but was passed at the standing start by eventual winner Seth Thomas. Kleinubing's No. 42 Acura TSX kept the pressure on Thomas' BMW throughout the 18-lap sprint, but was unable to re-gain the top spot.
RTR's defending Touring Car Champion, Peter Cunningham, finished ninth in his brand new 2009 Acura TSX, built to the rules for a new generation of cars in the series. Cunningham hurt his chances after early contact cost him his front bumper, affecting the aerodynamics of the No. 1 machine. Still, with limited pre-season testing, the new car performed well.
Jeff Courtney of Slinger, Wisconsin, and rookie contender Toby Grahovec of Chicago, made their first starts with the RealTime team, finishing 10th and 11th.
The team's only non-finisher was third quickest qualifier Kuno Wittmer, who had a clutch malfunction. Wittmer lost drive in his No. 44 Acura at the halfway point which ended his bid for a podium result.
"Pierre did a great job to get his record-extending 35th career pole position," said Crew Chief Paul Truess. "I'm proud of the level of readiness showed by the team so we're off on the right foot to defend our championship!"
Cunningham was pleased with his new car, built to new cost-reducing specs. "It never skipped a beat," he said of the new Acura TSX. "What I was handed to drive was a tribute to RealTime and to Acura -- it was ready for battle. We expect to have Pierre's new '09-spec car for the race at New Jersey Motorsports Park in May. The drivetrain hasn't changed significantly, but we are encouraged by the improved handling of this new TSX."
The SPEED TV broadcast of the Sebring race will air Wednesday, April 15 at noon EDT.