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Sebring: Tri-Point Motorsports race report

Altenburg Leads Tri-Point Motorsports MAZDA6 One-Two at WCTC Sebring Race Tri-Point Motorsports team drivers Jeff Altenburg of Ellicott City, Maryland and Randy Pobst of Gainesville, Georgia drove their Mazdaspeed MAZDA6 race cars to a dominant...

Altenburg Leads Tri-Point Motorsports MAZDA6 One-Two at WCTC Sebring Race

Tri-Point Motorsports team drivers Jeff Altenburg of Ellicott City, Maryland and Randy Pobst of Gainesville, Georgia drove their Mazdaspeed MAZDA6 race cars to a dominant one-two finish at the season opening event of the SPEED World-Challenge Touring Car race at Sebring International Raceway. The 50-minute Touring Car race was held as part of a busy race weekend capped by the 55th running of the AMLS' Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Practice and Qualifying

Although Altenburg had a slow start to the weekend with his times during the first official practice session placing him near the back of the field, a few changes to the set up vaulted him to the top of the timing charts for the second practice session. The two blue and white Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development MAZDA6s ran in close quarters throughout qualifying, with Pobst's #73 entry helping to develop a draft for Altenburg's #72, which ultimately lead to Jeff scoring his first pole position of 2007. While Jeff stopped the clocks at a 1:19.951, Pobst was only a tenth behind at a 1:20.052. The nearest competitor in qualifying was the third placed RealTime Acura RS-X of Kuno Witmer some eighth tenths behind the Mazdas.

Race Action

Both Altenburg and Pobst got strong starts, and led the twenty five-car field cleanly through turn one. The Altenburg-Pobst duo were able to slowly build a gap to the field during the first few laps of the race, which ran with no yellows for the full eighteen lap race distance. Pobst rarely let more than a two tenths of a second gap open to Altenburg, and eventually the two Mazdas were slowly reeled in by the #1 RealTime Acura TSX of 2006 champion Pierre Kleinubing. Although Kleinubing closed in enough to pressure Pobst in turn one on lap eight, Randy deftly protected his position, and the Acura driver slowly lost ground over the next few laps.

Randy closed the gap to Jeff within one tenth of a second in the last few laps of the race, but it was Altenburg that took the checkered flag first and claimed his first win in the World Challenge Touring Car series since Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2003.

Quotes

Jeff Altenburg - Driver #72 Tri-Point MAZDA6

"The guys just did a great job for me this weekend. Ron (Carroll) and Brett (Monetti) worked together and gave me a really good car. I also have to thank Stop Tech for their brakes that helped me in every aspect of the race. I was also very happy with the Sachs shocks that were very responsive to the changes that we made. Randy and I were good teammates this weekend, and he really helped to pull me around in qualifying. During the race he probably could have taken a shot a me, but I knew he wouldn't do anything to jeopardize us both. To be leading the manufacturer's points chase is awesome, and to be leading the driver's championship is the icing on the cake."

Randy Pobst - Driver #73 Tri-Point MAZDA6

"What a weekend! Touring Car is so competitive that the race is often a question of who hits the right set up. At Sebring, it was the Tri-Point MAZDA6s. I stuck right with my teammate Jeff, because two cars are faster than one. A great way to welcome my new personal sponsor APR Tuning, and Jeff's new car chief Ron Carroll."

Numbers

With the first round of the ten race SPEED World Challenge Touring Car 2007 schedule completed, Mazda lead Acura in the manufacturer's championship points race 10-4. Audi trails Acura closely with 3 points. Altenburg leads Pobst in the driver's points race 42-36, with defending champion Kleinubing scoring 30 points for his third place finish.

Up Next and Info

The SPEED World Challenge Touring Car series teams have a month off before meeting at Miller Motorsports Park outside Salt Lake City, Utah for round two of the 2007 WCTC series schedule. For more information on the SPEED World Challenge series log onto www.world-challenge.com. To see great pics of the Tri-Point Motorsports MazdaSpeed Motorsports Development MAZDA6s log onto www.tripointengineering.com.

-credit: tpm

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About this article
Series PWC
Drivers Randy Pobst , Pierre Kleinubing , Jeff Altenburg