Kleinubing Tops In SPEED TC Qualifying at Road America
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 9, 2008) – Pierre Kleinubing, of Coconut Creek, Fla., captured his record-extending 34th SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship pole position in preparation for Sunday’s SCCA SPEED Touring Car Round Eight race, part of the Road Race Showcase weekend at Road America. Jason Saini, of Fort Worth, Texas, will start second.
Driving the No. 43 Acura/RealTime/Eibach/Red Line Acura TSX, Kleinubing turned a fastest lap of 2:28.147 (98.367 mph) on his first flying tour around the 4.048-mile circuit. It is Kleinubing’s second pole at Road America, a place near and dear to his, and team RealTime Racing’s hearts.
“The car was awesome,” Kleinubing said. “This is a great accomplishment for the team to be able to start on the pole and hopefully make it a little bit easier for Sunday.
“I’ve been on the team for 12 seasons. They’re pretty much a part of my family, so this is definitely my home track. It’s great to put a RealTime car on pole this weekend.”
Kleinubing was the point leader heading into the most recent round at Mid-Ohio July 20, but an opening-lap incident took him out of the running and dropped him to third in the points.
“I always drive the same,” he said when asked if his driving style changed whether he was leading or chasing in the point standings. “There are still two more [races] after this, so it’s not over yet. There are still good opportunities to get good points.”
Rookie of the year leader Saini was just 0.019-second off the top spot in his No. 74 Mazdaspeed/Stoptech/Racinghart MAZDA6. It is Saini’s second-ever appearance on the front row. He won from the pole at Miller Motorsports Park in May.
Defending race winner (in 2006) Chip Herr, of Lititz, Pa., was the only driver to improve his time at the end of the session, following a red flag to remove the BMW of James Sofronas from the turn three gravel trap. Herr turned a lap of 2:28.469 (98.220 mph) in his No. 97 Mazdaspeed/Tindol Motorsports MAZDA6, jumping from 12th to third at the checkered flag.
James Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., qualified a season-high fourth in the No. 36 BimmerWorld BMW 325i with a 2:28.469 (98.153 mph), followed by Jim Daniels, of Germantown, Tenn., in his No. 75 Mazdaspeed/Stoptech/Racinghart MAZDA6 with a 2:28.508 (98.128 mph).
Clay’s teammate, Seth Thomas, will start sixth in his BMW 325i, followed by Milwaukee’s Peter Cunningham (Acura TSX), Michael Galati (MAZDA6), Sofronas and Eric Curran (Acura RSX). Point leader Kuno Wittmer could only manage 11th fastest in his Acura TSX.
Sunday’s SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Round Eight race will make its standing start at 11:05 a.m. (CDT) Sunday morning. Live timing and lap notes are available via www.world-challenge.com. Sunday’s race will be broadcast Wed. Aug. 20 at 1 p.m. (EDT) on SPEED.