Kleinubing, Galati Take Round One Speed Woody's Ice Poles SEBRING, Fla. (March 14, 2002)-Defending SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Champions Michael Galati and Pierre Kleinubing showed that while the season may be new, they still own the...
Kleinubing, Galati Take Round One Speed Woody's Ice Poles
SEBRING, Fla. (March 14, 2002)-Defending SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Champions Michael Galati and Pierre Kleinubing showed that while the season may be new, they still own the top of the Speed GT and Touring Car time sheets, respectively, taking the Woody's Ice Pole Positions for Friday's Round One races at the Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring Weekend.
Galati, of N. Olmsted, Ohio, drove his No. 1 Champion Audi S4 Competition to a record-shattering lap of 2:19.299 (95.699 mph) to take his 15th-career World Challenge pole. Galati's mark was more than two seconds under Johannes van Overbeek's 2001 record of 2:21.485 (94.144 mph) and nearly one second ahead of second place Peter Cunningham's 2:20.111 (95.067 mph).
"Champion Racing did an outstanding job," said Galati, who topped Cunningham for the 2001 title. "Over the off season, they were very diligent with reworking the suspension. You really can't recognize the car from last year at this point. It looks the same, but it's completely reworked. The car does what we, as drivers, want it to.
"We're on the pole by a lot, but you don't just drive away in this series. Peter [Cunningham] will be tough. I'm sure we're going to battle all year."
Despite turning relatively few laps in practice due to a fuel management glitch, Cunningham, of W. Bend, Wis., was able to jump to the front row in his No. 42 RealTime Racing Acura NSX SC on his last lap. Van Overbeek will line up third in his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, followed by rookie John Young's Saleen SR, David Farmer's Chevrolet Corvette ZO6 and Jeff McMillin's BMW M3; placing six different manufacturers in the top six. Positions two through seven were separated by only 0.653-second in the 3.7-mile course.
In Speed Touring Car, Brazilian Kleinubing, also shattered the track record, turning a 2:30.288 (88.629 mph) to break his 2001 mark of 2:32.066 (87.593 mph). Driving the familiar orange and white No. 1 RealTime Racing Acura Integra R, Kleinubing was also nearly one second ahead of second place Kevin Schrantz, who turned a 2:31.234 (88.075 mph).
"After the final race at Road Atlanta last year, they essentially just rolled the car to the paint shop and rolled it back onto the trailer," said Kleinubing, who set a series career record for poles, with 22. "You can keep this old car competitive against all these newer cars because of one reason--RealTime Racing. These guys rock! They always find a little more out of this car each year."
Schrantz, of Boulder, Colo., hopes to give Volkswagen it's first-ever Speed World Challenge win, podium or otherwise, starting a career-best equaling second in the No. 98 Metro VW Volkswagen Jetta. Cunningham will start third in the team car to Kleinubing, followed by Charles Espenlaub, of Lutz, Fla., in a Mazda Protégé and rookie Mark Kirberg's BMW 325is.
The Speed World Challenge Touring Car race will start at 1:15 p.m. (Eastern) Friday, with the Speed GT race going green at 4:10 p.m. (Eastern). Live timing is available following links the from the Sebring homepage located at www.world-challenge.com/2002/seb/. The races will be broadcast Saturday, March 30 on Speed Channel.
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