Pierre Kleinubing took over the Driver's Championship points lead in the SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car series at Lime Rock Park today with his second win in three races, driving the RealTime Racing Acura RSX.
Kleinubing qualified fourth fastest in a 51-car field crowded onto a rainy 1.53-mile circuit, moved to second place on the first lap, into the lead on the third lap, and was never challenged after that.
The three-time series champion won by 16.663 seconds. It was his fourth Lime Rock Park win and the 18th of his career, all in Acuras prepared by RealTime.
The win gave Acura the lead for the Manufacturer's Championship going into the fourth of 10 rounds this season, June 27-29 at Road Atlanta.
"Winning this race wasn't about horsepower," Kleinubing said. "It was about my crew chief, Jerome Zimmermann, and our crew using their experience to pick the right suspension settings for rainy conditions, and about driving smart. I had a ten-second lead by the seventh lap, so there was no real urgency. What I needed to do was drive my own race, and hope all the backmarkers I was about to lap were watching their mirrors. Thankfully, they did."
RealTime Racing's contenders for the Rookie of the Year award, Zac Mazzotta, of Santa Barbara, Calif., and Kevin McKee, of San Francisco, finished 12th and 30th respectively.
Mazzotta qualified 13th, and was running in 10th, when an off-course excursion in his RealTime Acura RSX dropped him to 20th, forcing him to work his way back through the field. It was Mazzotta's best finish in his young career. His fastest race lap was only :00.795 sec. slower than the veteran Kleinubing's.
McKee started 33rd in his Acura Integra, also had a spin, and climbed back to 30th place to improve on his Mosport finish two weeks ago.
"We only had one dry practice session all weekend to see where we stood against the competition, and that was Friday," added Zimmermann. "Five cars were below the old record set last year in a RealTime Acura Integra, and Pierre was a scant :00.089 off the fastest time." The top seven qualifiers represented the BMW, Mazda, Acura and Nissan brands.
Monday's race win is number 48 for RealTime drivers since 1993.
The Lime Rock race will air on the Speed Channel, Saturday, May 31 at 3 p.m. EST.