TOOELE, Utah (May 18, 2007) – Jeff Altenburg, of Ellicott City, Md., captured his second pole in-a-row at Miller Motorsports Park for Round Two of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED Touring Car Championship, part of the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix. Teammate Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., will start second, making it an all-Mazda front row.-30-
The Tri-Point Mazda teammates who finished one-two at the season opener in Sebring wasted no time hooking up into a tight draft as the qualifying session commenced. When the pair came through on their first flyer it was Altenburg at the top of the timing screens with a 3:10.166 (84.923 mph), just 0.004-second ahead of Pobst. The time proved unbeatable and gave the No. 72 Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development Mazda 6 pilot his third career-pole, although Altenburg admitted in the post-qualifying conference it wasn’t what the team had planned.
“Randy [Pobst] and I have a deal where I pull him in one qualifying and he pulls me in the next,” Altenburg said. “This was my turn to pull him so I had no delusions of getting the pole today. He seemed to be making ground on me, but in the last three or four turns is where I got it back. I just hung on by four thousandths.”
Altenburg speculated why the SCCA SPEED Touring Car qualifying pace did not match that of last year’s.
“All of our driving that we’ve done so far, the American LeMans Series cars have not been on the track, but last night and this morning they’ve been out, so this is the first time we’ve seen the track with all this American LeMans rubber on it. It seemed to have an effect on the car, but apparently not a positive one, because I went this fast yesterday afternoon. I’ve also found at this track that stickered tires aren’t the godsend they are at other tracks.”
Driving the No. 73 Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development Mazda 6, Pobst will start alongside Altenburg on the grid Saturday, replicating the front row from Round One at Sebring. Pobst’s fast time of 3:10.170 (84.922 mph) came on the same lap as Altenburg’s pole winner.
BimmerWorld continues to have a banner weekend as Seth Thomas, of Cumming, Ga., earned his career-best starting position, putting his No. 38 BimmerWorld BMW 325i in the third spot with a time of 3:10.399 (84.819 mph).
A pair of RealTime Acuras complete the top five. Defending race winner at Miller Motorsports Park and reigning SCCA SPEED Touring Car Champion Pierre Kleinubing will start his No. 1 Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Acura TSX fourth with a time of 3:10.889 (84.602 mph). Kuno Wittmer put his No. 44 Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Acura RSX fifth on the grid with a 3:10.991 (84.556 mph).
RealTime team owner, Peter Cunningham sits just behind Kleinubing and Wittmer in sixth with his Acura TSX.
Chip Herr (Audi A4), Byron Smith (Dodge SRT-4), Brandon Davis (Acura TSX) and James Clay (BMW 325i) completed the top ten.
Saturday’s Round Two SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car race is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. (MDT). The race will be broadcast on SPEED Saturday, May 26 at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).
For all the event news from Miller Motorsports Park as well as live timing and lap notes, visit www.world-challenge.com.
Link to story: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=805