ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 1, 2006) – Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., topped the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship charts for the third time in three tries at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, this time taking the pole position for Sunday’s race in his Mazda 6. Brazil’s Pierre Kleinubing will line up alongside Pobst in his Acura TSX.-30-
Driving the No. 73 TriPoint Motorsports/Mazdaspeed Mazda 6, Pobst turned a fastest time of 1:23.191 (77.893 mph) on his first flying lap around the 14-turn, 1.8 mile temporary facility to take his second-straight St. Petersburg pole. Pobst led every lap of the 2005 event from the pole as well, and he started the 2006 event off by leading both practice sessions on Tuesday.
“We had a handling breakthrough at Sebring with my Mazda 6 and it’s really a personal thing for me,” Pobst said. “It feels good for me, but when I shared it with my teammates, they really didn’t like it. It’s good for me though and the car has great balance.
“I had an exciting moment out there. I had a little too much rear brake bias on my first lap and I went steaming down into turn one and I locked the rears. I was able to grab the right gear for turn two and get the car straightened out while cranking the brake adjust knob! So the beginning of the lap was a little bit sloppy. But from then on it went really well.”
Always thinking about the big picture, Pobst added that winning the pole is just a piece of the puzzle.
“I see this pole position as just another step toward winning the race and winning the Championship,” he said. “I’ve got Pierre Kleinubing right there behind me, so I only gain one point on him.”
Driving the No. 42 Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Racing Acura TSX, Kleinubing hooked up with teammate Peter Cunningham (No. 1 Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Racing Acura TSX) on his second flying lap to jump up to second with a time of 1:23.746 (77.376 mph). Cunningham also jumped to third on that lap, with a time just 0.051-second behind Kleinubing.
Local driver Charles Espenlaub, of Lutz, Fla., qualified fourth in his No. 97 Sparco/Oakley/Tindol Motorsports Mazda 6 with a time of 1:23.893 (77.241 mph). Jeff Altenburg, of Ellicott City, Md., will start fifth in his team car to Pobst.
Sunday’s 31-lap SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Round Two race will start at 12:45 p.m. (EDT). The race will air on a same day tape delay at 4 p.m. on SPEED Channel.
To follow the race notes and Live Timing and Scoring presented by SRT, visit the SCCA Pit Board at www.world-challenge.com.
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