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RealTime Racing Touring Results
 Date: October 18, 2002 10:59
 Submitted by:  Tuan
 Source: RealTime Press Release
 Credibility Rating: N/A

RealTime Clinches Eighth Title
Cunningham, Kleinubing 1-2 at Road Atlanta
New RTR Acura RSX 11th in debut
October 11, 2002 - Gainesville Georgia

RealTime Racing leader Peter Cunningham never imagined it would take until the next to last race of the 2002 SPEED Touring Car Championship season to score his first win of the year, but the wait seemed almost worthwhile at Road Atlanta today when Cunningham and teammate Pierre Kleinubing led the RTR Acura team to a one-two finish in Round 10 of the series.

Today's result guarantees that a RealTime Racing driver will be the Touring Car Champion yet again in 2002, clinching their eighth SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge title. Cunningham and Kleinubing have consistently put their RTR Acuras on the podium all season long, running first and second in the points since mid-season.

Cunningham's #42 Integra Type R pressured fastest qualifier and race leader Will Turner's BMW 325is throughout the 25-lap affair. Turner finally succumbed to the pressure in Turn Seven on the 22nd lap, running wide and spinning on his own, allowing Cunningham to sneak through into the lead. Peter was never headed after that, and led Pierre to the stripe by 1.627 seconds. The win was his 25th in World Challenge, the 73rd of his professional road racing career dating back to 1985, and his eighth at Road Atlanta.

Kleinubing had his own battle to fight with Jeff Altenburg in a Mazda Protegé. After getting passed down the back straight numerous times, the #1-plated Integra fought back hard, taking to the inside as the duo came into view and down the hill to the checkered flag side-by-side, but Kleinubing went through the timing lights 0.003 seconds sooner.

If not for a pair of mechanical DNFs by Kleinubing at the two street races, he would be the one with the decent lead going into the final round. But Cunningham was right there to back up his teammate, and now looks forward to the Virginia event with a 16-point cushion.

"The only person who can beat me out for the title is Pierre," Cunningham said. "If that were to happen, I would certainly be disappointed, but still very excited for him, and that our team was able to bring home another Drivers' Championship.

"The Manufacturers' Championship is even more important, though, and it's still up for grabs," he added. "The best BMW today finished only seventh. That moved Acura to within three points of BMW. We would very much like to win our eighth Manufacturer Award for Acura and Honda, but we have to look two directions to do it. There's BMW ahead of Acura, and Mazda is only two points behind Acura. And you know the competition will be gunning for that title just as hard as we are!"

RTR also debuted the team's brand new Acura RSX at Road Atlanta. In its maiden race, former RTR hotshoe Kevin Schrantz brought the all-new #44 RSX home in 11th place. After qualifying 19th in the competitive 42-car field, Schrantz went on a charge into the top-10. In the end, he lost ground on the final lap, when a fuel-feed problem dropped him to 11th.

The sleek RSX is a clean-sheet-of-paper coupe that replaces the Integra line, which RealTime has raced since 1997. "We expected this to be a 'learning' weekend with the RSX, even though the car has undergone extensive track testing," Cunningham related. "Kevin qualified only six-tenths of a second off the qualifying record, and went three-tenths of a second faster than that in the race, so we're pleased. There was no undue pressure on him to be on the pole or in the hunt for the win. He did exactly what he needed to do. We've got two more weeks of developmental time to be ready for the season ender, and we're counting on this car to help Acura win its championship."

RealTime put five Touring Cars on the Road Atlanta grid. Newly-crowned SCCA Trans-Am series champion Boris Said, one of Cunningham's off-and-on co-drivers since 1989, was hired to drive another of the RTR Integras. Said qualified the #46 Acura 14th, and joined Schrantz early in the battle at the sharp end of the grid, but was stalled by a right rear tire that was worn down to the air. He finished 22nd. RTR seven-year veteran Fred Meyer started his #45 machine 37th, and did a superb job gaining eight spots to finish 29th.

A remarkable 12 cars qualified under the old track qualifying record, led by Turner's 92.360mph lap. Cunningham was second quickest at 92.014mph, followed by Kleinubing at 91.922mph.

The fastest race lap chart showed Cunningham and Kleinubing only seventh and fourth quick in the caution-free event, proving that consistency was the key to their sweep of the top positions.

"This late in the season, all the teams have learned how to get every bit of performance out of their cars, and SCCA Pro Racing has the individual car weights about as even as possible," Cunningham added. "Four manufacturers qualified within one second of the pole, and that's excellent. It also meant the whole team would have to be on top of their game, and I feel it is safe to say this race showed just how good the RTR crew, the cars, and the drivers are. As a 'package,' we were the best there was today."

The 11th and final Touring Car Championship race of the season will be Sunday, October 27, at VIRginia International Raceway, near Alton, Virginia.

The Road Atlanta SPEED Touring Car race will debut on the SPEED Channel on Saturday, October 26, at 8pm EST, with re-airs on Oct. 27 at 2am EST, noon EST, and Nov. 2 at noon EST.

Last edited by JeffX on November 22, 2003 13:40

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