Monterey, Calif. (Oct. 14, 2005) – It is too early to say he has thrown the hammer down, but SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car point leader Peter Cunningham, of West Bend, Wis., made a strong showing Friday during practice, handily sweeping both sessions in his No. 42 A-SPEC/RealTime Racing Acura TSX.-30-
Jeff Altenburg, of Ellicott City, Md., and Cunningham’s RealTime teammate Pierre Kleinubing were second and third in the combined practice sessions, respectively.
After taking a morning 20-minute session that saw six drivers post times faster than the current SPEED Touring Car qualifying record held by Kleinubing, Cunningham was even faster on the 2.238-mile, 11-turn course in the cooler afternoon, dropping his front-running time from 1:37.410 to a 1:37.303 (82.801 mph).
Cunningham currently holds a 12-point advantage over Pobst in the SPEED Touring Car Championship, and needs to finish fourth or better in Sunday’s finale to clinch his fourth SPEED World Challenge Drivers’ Championship.
Altenburg, in the No. 72 Mazdaspeed/Tri-Point Motorsport Mazda 6, was also faster, but still finished behind Cunningham with a 1:37.522 (82.615 mph). Kleinubing, of Coconut Creek, Fla., dropped nearly 0.2-sec. from his morning time, but remained in third with a 1:37.670 (82.490 mph).
Dino Crescentini, of Malibu, Calif., was second quick in the morning session, but couldn’t improve his time in the last session and wound up fourth in the No. 74 Mazdaspeed/Centric/Tri-Point Mazda 6 with a 1:37.786 (82.392 mph). Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., the third Tri-Point team member, was fifth with a 1:37.863 (82.327 mph) in the No. 73 Mazdaspeed/Tri-Point Motorsport Mazda 6.
In all, 10 drivers ran times under Kleinubing’s qualifying record of 1:38.261, set one year ago.
Qualifying for Sunday’s Round 11 race is scheduled for Saturday at 9:30 a.m. (PDT). Live Timing and Scoring can be viewed at www.world-challenge.com. Sunday’s race is scheduled to start at 10:55 a.m.
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