Canadian Wittmer Leads SPEED Touring Car Practice in Toronto CANADA (July 6, 2007) -- In the series' first visit to the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto, Kuno Wittmer, of Montreal, Quebec, made the most of his previous track experience at ...
Canadian Wittmer Leads SPEED Touring Car Practice in Toronto
CANADA (July 6, 2007) -- In the series' first visit to the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto, Kuno Wittmer, of Montreal, Quebec, made the most of his previous track experience at Exhibition Place to lead practice for Round Six of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship. Ian Baas, of Noblesville, Ind., and Roberto Santos, of Monterrey, Mexico, were second and third fastest, respectively.
Racing on the streets of Toronto for the sixth time in his career, Wittmer climbed to the top of scoring monitors shortly after the first of two red flags in the 30-minute session. The flag was brought out for the No. 29 Global Motorsports Group BMW 325Ci of James Sofronas, from Newport Beach, Calif., who's engine expired on the first lap and stopped on course in Turn Six.
Wittmer continued to lead the session while steadily improving his time. The No. 44 Acura Certified Pre-Owned pilot ended the session with a fast lap of 1:21.603 (77.423 mph) on his final tour around the 1.755-mile, 11-turn temporary street course.
"I definitely have the most experience here," Wittmer said. "But at this level of racing, it's so competitive and it's only a matter of time before the other guys come up to speed. I think in qualifying I'll be getting a lot more pressure, especially from my teammates, because they'll be right there with me in speed.
Wittmer has tasted success at Exhibition Place before, winning the Honda Challenge race here in 2005 en route taking the series Championship. But the Canadian has no illusions of a clean sweep at Toronto this weekend.
"I've always liked street courses. I think my car is suited pretty good to this track and I've had a pretty good history on street courses as far as driving goes. I like this track, it has a good flow to it. The last three corners, the way you build up momentum is fun, so I've got nothing negative to say about this track."
"Starting qualifying in seventh, because I'm seventh in the points, might be a little bit of a problem, especially since the front guys aren't up to speed yet. It's not their fault, it's just a matter of learning the track and we didn't get much time in today's practice. I think I'm going to just keep a gap and then go on my own, maybe get two or three laps."
In his best showing of the season so far, Baas put his No. 18 PFAFF/STaSIS/Clear Capital Audi A4 second on the time sheets. Fresh from a Rolex GT race at Daytona Thursday night, Baas recorded a time of 1:21.868 (77.173 mph).
Driving the No. 74 Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development Mazda 6, Santos outpaced both of his Championship-leading teammates Randy Pobst and Jeff Altenburg to finish the session in third. The young rookie finished the session with a 1:22.242 (76.822 mph).
Four-time World Challenge Champion Peter Cunningham of Grafton, Wis., was fourth fastest with a lap of 1:22.434 (76.643 mph) in his No. 42 Acura Certified Pre-Owned Acura TSX. Lime Rock race winner Chip Herr, of Lititz, Pa., completed the top five in his No. 17 PFAFF/STaSIS/Clear Capital Audi A4 with a time of 1:22.443 (76.634 mph).
Charles Espenlaub (Mazda 6), Pierre Kleinubing (Acura TSX), Michael Galati (Mazda 6), Jeff Altenburg (Mazda 6) and Stan Wilson (Dodge SRT-4) completed the top ten.
Qualifying for Round Six of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship is set for Saturday, July 7, at 4:30 p.m. (EDT).
For all the latest from the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto, including live timing and lap notes, log onto www.world-challenge.com.
-credit: scca pro racing