Realtime Racing Results from this weekend at Belle Isle Grand Prix of Detroit
Date: June 06, 2012 15:27
RealTime Racing Press Release
RealTime Shines at Belle Isle Double
Two podium finishes keep Acura on top of Manufacturers’ points
DETROIT, Mich. (June 4, 2012) – Street course racing is demanding by nature, but even more so on the bumpy streets of Detroit, an unfamiliar circuit for many of the teams in the Pirelli World Challenge Championships. RealTime Racing, with Acura drivers Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wis., and Nick Esayian, of San Diego, Calif., were relieved to come away from the brutal doubleheader weekend with two podium finishes and the GTS Manufacturers’ Championship lead intact.
QualifyingAfter a rainy Friday morning, the RealTime team had limited helpful data to prepare for Saturday morning’s qualifying session. The rest of the GTS field was in a similar position, and it showed, with the top five qualifiers separated by only 0.557 seconds. Cunningham earned the fourth spot on the GTS grid with a lap of 1:34.274 (79.428 mph). Esayian lined up 13th, turning a 1:36.335 (77.728 mph).
Saturday – Race OneAs can happen on street courses, the signature World Challenge standing start erupted into chaos when the GT polesitter stalled and was subsequently rear-ended by another car. In the midst of the chaos, Cunningham lost a spot to Jack Baldwin’s Porsche Cayman S at the launch, but found his way past the third quickest qualifier Michael Galati in his Kia Optima on the approach to turn 3. Meanwhile, Esayian had a great launch moving up to 11th without incident. The race immediately went full-course yellow to clean up the GT accident on the front stretch and would remain so until lap 12.
On the restart, Cunningham was ready to go, passing the Baldwin Porsche in turn 3 and Aaron Povoledo’s Ford Mustang Boss 302S exiting turn 7 on the same lap. This put Cunningham’s No. 42 RealTime/Acura/HPD Acura TSX in the runner-up spot. Three laps later a second accident brought out a second lengthy full-course yellow, which forced the race to end under caution.
“There wasn’t much racing going on out there with all the time we spent under yellow,” Cunningham said. “That’s somewhat expected on street courses like this and we have to be thankful that it wasn’t either of our cars involved in those accidents. I do wish we would have had more opportunities to show what the Acuras were really capable of.”
Admittedly disappointed in his qualifying performance, Esayian channeled his frustration in the few green flag laps available. The No. 34 RealTime/Acura/HPD Acura TSX picked up total of two spots before the first full-course caution and was up to ninth after the first restart. Multiple GTS cars involved in the second accident enabled Esayian to slip into sixth before the final full-course caution.
“It wasn’t necessarily an outstanding performance today, but we accomplished what we needed to do; score points and keep the cars in one piece for Sunday’s race,” Esayian said.
Sunday – Race TwoThe grid for Sunday’s race was set by lap times turned in Saturday’s race, placing Cunningham third and Esayian 13th. Cunningham was instantly challenged by Povoledo on the start, but put on a strong defense and was even able to take over second place from Baldwin in the Porsche Cayman S.
It wasn’t long before the first full-course caution of the race came out on lap four. After circulating in second-place under yellow, Cunningham held off Baldwin on the restart, but was unable to hold off the Porsche on lap 15, when Baldwin made an unexpected move into turns one and two. Cunningham stuck with Baldwin, but when a late-race caution was issued on lap 22, any opportunity to retake the second place was lost, as the race ended under full-course caution.
“It’s hard not to be sore about that race,” Cunningham said afterwards. “The nature of street course racing gives you few opportunities for clean passes and, once again, the amount of time spent under yellow really held us back from showing what we were capable of. I hate to lose the lead in the Drivers’ Championship because of two races like we had here in Detroit.
“But, on the bright side, we are leaving a street course doubleheader with both cars in one piece, which not a lot of World Challenge teams can say right now. And Acura continues to lead the Manufacturers’ Championship over Chevrolet and Ford with five rounds remaining.”
Esayian made good use of the standing start and subsequent restart from yellow to gain ground in Sunday’s race. The Californian advanced to ninth before the first full-course caution and picked up an additional spot on the lap nine restart, but dropped a spot to ninth just before the second full-course caution brought the race to an end.
“Even though we didn’t have the outright speed in qualifying, we had two strong cars this weekend and I think had we had more green flag racing, that would have showed,” lamented Esayian. “It’s thanks to team work that we accomplished what we did; having Peter and Curt Jung (Team Engineer) on the radio giving me a heads up on where the carnage was, really helped me work through the traffic.”
The heads up thinking of the RealTime crew and shrewd decisions of the two drivers enabled the team to walk away not just with two podium finishes, but two Acura TSXs without a scratch―a victory in itself following a street course doubleheader.
PointsWith dual GTS wins in Detroit, Andy Lee wrestled the Drivers’ Championship away from Cunningham, who now trails Lee by 10 points (832 to 822). Esayian continues to hold sixth place, 21 points back from fifth (544 to 523).
Acura continues to lead the GTS manufacturer standings with 44 points. Chevrolet leapfrogged Ford to take over the second spot and trails Acura by four points.
TVRounds six and seven of the Pirelli World Challenge GTS championship from Detroit will air on NBC Sports, Saturday, July 7th at 5PM ET.
Next UpUp next for the RealTime Acura team is a doubleheader at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. Round eight is scheduled for 1:15 PM ET on June 23. Round nine will take the green flag at 2:30 PM ET on June 24. Both races will air live on http://www.world-challengetv.com. Live timing and scoring is available on http://www.world-challenge.com.
SponsorsThe 2012 season for RealTime Racing is brought to you by Acura, HPD, Red Line Oil, Eibach Springs, Sparco, BOSCH, Brembo, BuyBrakes.com and Total Auto Body.
Last edited by JeffX on
June 06, 2012 15:52