Kleinubing, Acura Conquer Atlanta
Three-time champion goes wire-to-wire for 3rd win of 2003
October 17, 2003 -- Braselton, Georgia
Pierre Kleinubing and the #42 RealTime Racing Acura RSX left no doubt about what was the fastest car and driver combination in the SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car Championship series event at Road Atlanta, qualifying on the pole and leading every lap to score their third win of the season.
It was Kleinubing’s first “max’ed-out points” weekend this year – 30 points for the win plus four more for the pole, a top five qualifying spot, leading a single lap, and leading the most race laps.
He averaged 92.904 miles per hour for 25 laps on the 2.54-mile road course, and won by :05.331 seconds over Jeff Altenburg’s Mazda, plus an additional :00.7 seconds over Peter Cunningham’s Nissan. The win is the 19th of Pierre’s World Challenge career, second on the all-time list.
“This is my eighth World Challenge Touring Car race at Road Atlanta, and it always seemed odd that I’d never won here, especially after winning the pole four times, and finishing on the podium four times,” he said. “RealTime Racing gave me a good car right from the first practice, and it was just a ‘magic’ weekend. I know my old crew chief [the late] Jerry Zimmermann is up there cheering for us today. Even though we still miss him terribly, he’d be happy to know we’re learning how to make the Acuras run as fast as he did. Andy Kanehl and Kurt Jung have done a fantastic job with the engines, and I’m learning more about shock absorber adjustments, which Jerry also used to do.”
Kleinubing qualified on the pole for this, the ninth of ten races, at an average speed of 93.785 miles per hour. He was the fastest of 16 cars to break the old qualifying record, and notched the 25th pole position of his World Challenge career, tying three-time series champion Peter Cunningham for the top spot on that series statistic.
Series rookie Zac Mazzotta also showed just how strong the RealTime Racing Acuras were today, with an 11th place finish from a 24th place start -- the best finish of his young career. His nine-position jump on the first lap earned him the race’s B&M Hole Shot Award. Kevin McKee started 31st in his RealTime Acura Integra and climbed to 22nd .
Kleinubing held a :00.413 second lead on lap five when the yellow flag was brought out for six minutes to retrieve a damaged car. Once the green flag flew again, he increased his margin to :06.2 seconds before giving the Acura RSX time to breathe before the checkered flag fell.
Kleinubing and Acura are second in the Driver’s and Manufacturer’s Championships.
The season finale will be Oct. 24-26 on the new Isla Grande Airport circuit in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The Road Atlanta Touring Car event will air on the SPEED Channel, Saturday, Nov. 8, at 4 p.m. EST.
The RealTime Racing Touring Cars are sponsored by the Acura Division of American Honda, Red Line Oil, Eibach Springs, BOSCH, Sparco, Hella, Gemini Technologies, Goodridge, Brembo, Hawk Performance, and Acura Genuine Parts.