RealTime Mid Ohio Results
Date: July 23, 2007 16:08
RealTime Press Release
RealTime Puts Three Acuras in Top-10
PK Fifth, PD Sixth, Kuno 10th at Mid-Ohio
July 22, 2007 – Lexington, Ohio
The Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio featured an action-packed weekend for six different racing series, including the SPEED Touring Car Championship, and headlined by both the Indy Racing League and American Le Mans Series.
RealTime Racing has won the Touring Car race here on two previous occasions, and drivers of the five-car fleet of Certified Pre-Owned Acura-sponsored TSX and RSX race cars were hoping to add one more to the win column today.
Unfortunately, a tricky qualifying session played a role in preventing that plan from coming true. The early Saturday morning session to determine the starting order for Sunday’s race started with a slippery Turn One. All but one of the cars slithered through safely for their first flyer before a red flag was called to pull the errant car out of the gravel trap. At that point, three of the RealTime Acuras were among the fastest five cars, but everyone knew the session wasn’t over.
For reasons that defied explanation, by the time Qualifying was completed, the Acuras had slipped down the order and were scheduled to line up eighth, 10th, 12th, 15th and 16th. Not a positive outcome for the tough-to-pass 2.258-mile natural terrain circuit.
With trepidation, the RealTime boys arrived on the grid, hoping that they could all make it safely through Turn One from the standing start. The mixed up grid could spell trouble for the Acura camp, as they lined up in uncharacteristic mid-pack positions. Other than the third place BMW failing to launch as the lights were extinguished, the remaining 22 Touring Cars set off without incident for the 27-lap chase.
“I had a clean start and a great battle with (series point leader) Randy Pobst’s Mazda for the first third of the race,” said Peter Cunningham, winner of the most-recent round in Toronto. “He got ahead of me at one point but I was able to get back past and hold him off until he and the guy behind him tangled which allowed me to scramble away. I think I may have used up too much of my tires in that struggle, and it wasn’t long before I saw the No. 1 inching up to my back bumper.”
The No. 1 plate belongs to defending series champion Pierre Kleinubing. He had been having a battle of his own with one of the three Audis in the race, and after his and Pobst’s demise, Kleinubing found himself in sixth behind Cunningham.
The boss let his faster teammate through, in hopes that Pierre could do something about the fourth place BMW, who was a number of car lengths up the road. Time ran out in the all-green affair, however, and the two best Acuras finished fifth and sixth on the day.
The next-highest placing Acura pilot was Quebec, Canada’s Kuno Wittmer. This first-year RealTime driver has been quick all season long, and this weekend was no exception. In fact, his RSX ran the fastest Practice session time of anyone, eclipsing the track record.
Qualifying was another story for Wittmer, and he did well to move up two positions from his 12th place start to end up 10th.
One spot behind in 11th was TSX wheelman Brandon Davis. He moved up four spots from Qualifying, but never really found his groove in Ohio.
Nick Esayian thought he saw another top-10 in his future, but ran into bad luck on Lap 17 when his ‘pit limiter’ button got stuck in the ‘on’ position. “I had been hounding the back end of a Lexus for so long my engine was beginning to overheat from a lack of fresh air,” the Wisconsin-born California resident reported. “When I hit a button on the steering wheel to reset the temperature alarm, I must have hit the pit limiter instead—by the time I got it shut off, the pack was gone, so I soldiered on and moved back up to 17th.”
“This is a huge weekend at Mid-Ohio,” said Cunningham. “The Acura Sports Car Challenge has to be the largest collection of Acura and Honda racecars ever assembled in one place. We met a ton of fans that were enjoying the picture-perfect weather and some great racing at this beautiful facility.”
Team Manager Nathan Bonneau reflected on the weekend’s results, “The entire team was befuddled after Qualifying, but the actual race results worked out better than we thought they might. The good news is we now head to three of our favorite tracks to finish out the year!”
The three remaining rounds of the 10-race 2007 SPEED Touring Car Championship will take place at Mosport International Raceway, Road Atlanta and Laguna Seca, where RealTime’s drivers have won a collective 16 times!
With seven races done and three to go in the 2007 season, Acura now runs a solid second, 19 points behind Mazda for the Manufacturers’ Championship.
For the Drivers’ title, the points have tightened up considerably in the last two races. Pobst’s DNF cost him the lead as his teammate Jeff Altenburg retakes the point, 215 to 198. Fourth at Mid-Ohio BMW driver James Sofronas sits third with 173, followed by Kleinubing just six points in arrears with 169. Cunningham is sixth with 152, Wittmer seventh at 146 while Davis and Esayian sit 10th and 13th with a respective 95 and 85 points.
The Mid-Ohio race will air on the SPEED Channel on a tape-delayed basis this Saturday, July 28 at 300p EDT.
The RealTime Acura team is sponsored by Acura, Acura Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, Red Line Oil, Eibach Springs, buyBrakes.com, Sparco, Hawk Performance, Brembo, A-SPEC, BOSCH, Valley Graphics, Total Auto Body, PACT and A-YES.
Last edited by RyanDL on
July 23, 2007 16:55
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