LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 29, 2004) – Bill Auberlen, of Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., captured his second Air Force Reserve Pole Position in as many races, shattering the Lime Rock Park SCCA Pro Racing SPEED Touring Car track record in preparation for Monday’s Mohegan Sun Grand Prix. Matt Plumb, of Newport, R.I., will line up alongside.
Driving the No. 1 Turner Motorsport/H&R Springs BMW 325i, Auberlen turned a fastest lap of 57.678 seconds (95.495 mph) around the 1.53-mile circuit, breaking Peter Cunningham’s 2002 record of 1:01.137. Much of the improved time can be attributed to the series’ new spec Toyo Tires.
“I don’t think the times are really representative of the order,” Auberlen said of the qualifying times. “I think Pierre [Kleinubing] may have found something. Going into turn one I had a good lead on him [Kleinubing] and then he’s right up behind me coming out of one. So, he’s very, very fast and then he falls back again. Our car was as good as it could be.
“They took our motor away from us. [After the series put a smaller air inlet restrictor on all BMW 325s] it is way down on power. The Watertown BMW is absolutely fantastic with H&R Springs on it. We changed them this morning and made another improvement. The car just keeps getting better and better. But, is it going to be enough for Monday? Only time will tell.”
Driving the No. 43 RealTime/SANZ/Sun MicroSystems Acura TSX, Plumb equaled his best career qualifying effort on his home track with a lap of 57.990 seconds (94.981 mph). Plumb was followed closely by teammate Kleinubing’s A-SPEC/RealTime Racing Acura TSX, who turned a lap of 58.017 seconds (94.937 mph).
Sweden’s Nic Jonsson was fourth quickest in his BMW, followed by the Mazda Protegé ES of rookie Chip Herr, of Lititz, Pa.
With rain in the extended forecast for Monday’s race, Auberlen remains optimistic of his chances in damp conditions. He once came from 44th on the grid to win in the rain at Lime Rock Park (2001).
“Is it going to be raining or dry on Monday?” Auberlen speculated on how to set up the car for Monday’s race. “In the rain, we go to a whole different set up. We change the car around completely and we do what we’ve done before. The car seems to be okay in the rain. I don’t think I’ve ever raced here in the dry in a Touring Car race. But, I imagine it can’t be much different than anything else. You bide your time. You run hard. The Toyo tires won’t go away. So, you can beat on the tires as hard as you can for 50 minutes. You just try to stay clean to where you don’t tear a corner off the car. All the people at the front know what they’re doing, so it should be a lot of fun.”
Monday’s SCCA SPEED Touring Car Championship Round Two race, part of the Mohegan Sun Grand Prix, is set to make its standing start at 2:10 p.m. (EDT). Cadillac Live Timing & Scoring is available at www.world-challenge.com. Monday’s race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel Sunday, June 6 at 12:00 p.m. (EDT).
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Event information: http://www.world-challenge.com/2004/events/lrp