SONOMA, Calif. (June 24, 2006) – Pierre Kleinubing, of Coconut Creek, Fla., earned the 28th pole of his SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge career at Infineon Raceway Saturday morning, turning a fast lap of 1:22.786 (86.536 mph) in his No. 42 Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Acura TSX to take the top spot for the SPEED Touring Car portion of the Dodge/Save Mart 250 weekend.-30-
The pole moved Kleinubing to within one of all-time poles leader Peter Cunningham, of Grafton, Wis., who will start alongside his RealTime teammate in the No. 1 Acura Certified Pre-Owned Acura TSX after turning a lap of 1:23.636 (85.656 mph).
As expected, Kleinubing’s fast time came early on, during his first flying lap on the 1.99-mile road course. Cunningham followed suit, also turning his quick time on the same lap, as did third-fastest Charles Espenlaub, of Lutz, Fla., who turned a 1:23.647 (85.645 mph) in his No. 97 Sparco/Oakley/Tindol Motorsport Mazda 6.
Having never run on the abbreviated Infineon configuration, Kleinubing said that he preferred it to the regular course.
“I like this course better because it allows me to carry a little more speed, which is fun,” Kleinubing said. “I got a perfect lap. I’d love to go that fast during the race, but, of course, it was just a qualifying setup.”
Drawing closer to his teammate, and boss, Cunningham for the all-time lead in poles was something that Kleinubing said keeps things fresh in the RealTime paddock.
“We go back and forth with that,” said Kleinubing, who, at age 31, is now in his 10th year of SPEED World Challenge competition. “I had the lead in that category a few years ago, and then Peter took it back. It’s a friendly rivalry.”
Tied atop the SPEED Touring Car Driver’s point standings with Kleinubing coming into the Infineon weekend, Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., will start fourth in his No. 73 Mazdaspeed/Tri-Point Motorsports Mazda 6 after posting a 1:23.710 (85.581 mph), and Eric Curran, of East Hampton, Mass., made it three RealTime Racing entries in the top five with a 1:23.752 (85.538 mph) in his No. 43 Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Acura RSX.
Practice leader Chip Herr, of Lititz, Pa., qualified seventh, however, he will start at the back of the field in his No. 17 STaSIS Motorsports/Clear Capital Audi A4 after the Audi was found during post-qualifying technical inspection to have too much turbo boost.
The SPEED Touring Car race is set for this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. (PDT).
To follow the 40-minute timed race via Live Timing and Scoring Presented by SRT and lap notes, visit www.world-challenge.com, select the Infineon event page and click the SCCA Pit Board.
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