SEBRING, Fla. (March, 14, 2007) – In his debut with STaSIS Motorsport, Dino Crescentini, of Manhattan Beach, Calif., topped SPEED Touring Car practice at Sebring International Raceway, part of the 55th Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring. Charles Espenlaub, of Lutz, Fla., and Jeff Altenburg, of Ellicott City, Md., completed the top three.
Driving the No. 19 STaSIS Motorsport Audi A4 for the first time in an official session, Crescentini jumped to the top of the time sheets in the closing minutes of SPEED Touring Car morning practice at Sebring. Crescentini clocked a 2:21.267 around the 17-turn, 3.7-mile road course, with an average speed of 94.289 mph. His time would stand throughout the afternoon practice session.
“The Audi with STaSIS is a great combination,” Crescentini said. “They have devoted a lot of time to testing and, with that kind of formula and great people working on the car, we have a better chance for success. This is only the tip of the iceberg. We need to continue with this momentum and make it stick all the way to the checkered flag.
“We have a few more adjustments we’re going to make. We’re still playing with the car – we don’t feel it’s optimized. When it is, we might do things and go backwards, but we’re not going to take those chances at this stage.”
Tindol Motorsports pilot Espenalub lead most of the morning session in his No. 97 Mazdaspeed/Tindol/Oakley/Sparco Mazda 6, with a time of 2:21.339. Espenlaub had little opportunity to improve his time however, as he pulled off in Turn Seven with mechanical problems shortly after setting his fast time.
Making the most of the afternoon session, Altenburg just sneaked into the top three with a lap of 2:21.607 in his No. 72 Tri-Point Motorsport/Mazdaspeed Mazda 6.
Defending SPEED Touring Car Champion Pierre Kleinubing finished the day fourth quick in his No. 1 Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Acura TSX. His teammate, Peter Cunningham, did not have as successful of a day; the No. 42 Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Acura TSX pulled off course early in the morning session with a driveline problem.
Kuno Wittmer of Montreal, Quebec completed the top five in his No. 44 Acura Certified Pre-Owned Acura RSX.
Qualifying for Round One of the SPEED Touring Car Championship will take place Thursday, March 15, at 11:25 a.m. EST. For full results and event coverage, including live timing and session notes, visit www.world-challenge.com.