RealTime Racing GT Results
Date: October 18, 2002 10:55
RealTime Press Release
Cunningham doubles at Road Atlanta; RealTime NSX wins SPEED GT race
Drivers' Championship within sight
October 11, 2002 - Gainesville, Ga.
RealTime Racing team owner and lead driver Peter Cunningham scored the sixth double-win of his long road racing career at Road Atlanta today, winning the SPEED World Challenge GT Championship race in his Vortech-supercharged Acura NSX.
Earlier in the day, Cunningham picked up his 73rd pro road racing win, driving one of the RTR Acura Integras to a SPEED Touring Car Championship win.
One race in each series remains for the 2002 World Challenge season, and Cunningham is 15 points out of the top spot for the GT Drivers' Championship, and he holds a 16-marker lead in Touring Car. If Cunningham misses his flight to Virginia, or otherwise ends up with an unrepresentative result in both races, the worst he can finish in either Championship is second.
Cunningham put the orange and white #42 RTR Acura NSX into the lead on the 16th of 27 laps around the 2.54-mile road course, and beat Randy Pobst's Porsche 911 Cup car to the finish line by 0.650 seconds. He averaged 90.095mph for the win. Series points leader Michael Galati (Audi S4 Comp) finished fourth for the second straight race, allowing Cunningham to close the points gap.
"It seemed nobody wanted to win this race," Cunningham joked, "except maybe the RTR crew. As always, we didn't have the fastest car in qualifying or in the race, but we had the best overall package of car, crew preparation and driving tactics. The three cars which qualified ahead of us all threw away the race for flaws in one of those areas, but that is what wins races, and loses them."
Cunningham qualified fourth fastest in the 21-car field, with a sub-record 98.726mph lap, just .442mph off the pole position speed of four-time race winner Pobst.
Between them were two unlikely cars this far up on the grid -- the Audi S4 Comp of Paul Edwards, racing under probation terms from SCCA Pro Racing for his rough driving at Laguna Seca two weeks ago; and the Corvette Z06 of Phil McClure. In all, nine cars exceeded Cunningham's old qualifying record of 96.991mph.
Cunningham held fourth place for the first 12 laps, then moved to third when Edwards over-shot his braking point at the end of the back straightaway. After sliding off course, he came right back on track in front of Cunningham, who now had the momentum to make the pass.
Pobst was the next to fall, on lap 15. "Randy didn't know at the time he had a radiator leak, and it was spraying hot water onto his rear tires," Cunningham said.
Galati, who qualified fifth, moved into the lead by lap four, lost it to Pobst for nine laps, then re-assumed it on lap 14. Galati fell to Cunningham's charge on lap 16.
With a few laps remaining, Cunningham's lead was over two seconds, but Pobst kept the pressure on, closing that gap to less than a second as the race neared its end.
The win was the 74th of Cunningham's professional racing career, and his 26th in World Challenge racing. Combined with the Touring Car win earlier in the day, it was his ninth Road Atlanta win in various cars, making this the most successful track on his chart of race wins at 27 different tracks.
With the 2002 Touring Car title already in the bag for either Cunningham or teammate Pierre Kleinubing, RealTime Racing's drivers have now won a series record eight Drivers' Championships. Their effort has led American Honda and its Acura Division to seven Manufacturers' Championships, also a series record.
"Porsche has clinched the Manufacturer's Championship, but with nine or ten of their cars out there every race, and three Audis, what we have done with one Acura NSX is something we can be proud of," Cunningham said. "Beating Michael for the Drivers' Championship would be great, but we need some help. All we can do is our best, and let the chips fall where they may."
The tenth and final SPEED GT race of the season will be Sunday, October 27, at VIRginia International Raceway, near Alton, Virginia. "I raced an Acura NSX for a Canadian team at VIR in late August," Cunningham added, "and we finished second. I purposely did that to learn more about the track, hoping it would give me a little advantage come race weekend. Maybe it did. We'll see."
The Road Atlanta SPEED GT race will debut on the SPEED Channel on Saturday, October 26, at 9pm, with re-airs Oct. 27 at 3am and 2:30pm, and Nov. 2 at 1pm. All times are EST.
Last edited by JeffX on
November 22, 2003 13:29