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The Preferred Line - St. Pete TC race report
4/2/2006 - The Preferred Line - Road racing news and commentary

SPEED World Challenge St. Petersburg 2006 Special Edition - Touring Car Race (April 2, 2006) By Jim Bourn
"We had a special setup for this track and it worked out well for us today." - Understated race winner Randy Pobst.


Randy Pobst goes wire to wire to win World Challenge Touring Car race at St. Petersburg

Randy Pobst, of Gainesville Georgia, won his second consecutive Touring Car race here at St. Petersburg as he and his potent MazdaSpeed/Tri-Point Engineering Mazda 6 held off repeated attempts by Peter Cunningham's Acura Certified Pre-Owned Acura TSX to win Round 2 of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge series.

While Pobst led every lap Peter Cunningham and his Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Racing Acura TSX applied plenty of heat on the back bumper of Pobst's Mazda all day but PD was just a little short.

Bad bash at the bay

"This is a good race to be in the front row from the appearance of what happened behind us," Pobst said after the race.

While the leaders got away from the grid cleanly the rest of the field had no such luck as a major melee began when Eric Curran and Charles Espenlaub tried to occupy the same space.

At the start Chip Herr naturally got a great launch in his all wheel drive QVALE/STaSIS Audi A4T moving smartly up to 3rd from his 7th place position and when both Eric Curran and Charles Espenlaub tried to follow past Jeff Altenburg things got nasty in a hurry!

Espenlaub's Sparco/Oakley Mazda 6 went into a door to door body slam with Eric Curran's Acura Certified Pre-Owned Acura RSX sending both cars into Altenburg's Tri-Point Mazda 6 unceremoniously depositing the #72 blue Mazda into the Jersey barrier.

Jeff Altenburg made a couple of pit stops but was never a factor as he only completed 4 laps.

Poor Jeff never saw it coming saying, "I was holding my line and then I got hit and pushed into the wall!"

"It looked like I had enough room to get by Jeff and I think that Charles had enough room on the other side," Curran said of the crash.

"I think I was just barely at the front of that," Charles Espenlaub said of the wreck. "I was probably some of the cause of it. It kind of gets that way; everyone is trying to get to the same spot.

"I took a pretty good hit in the right rear and as soon as I looked in the mirror it was chaos behind me so I was pretty lucky to get through there."

Pobst led file cleanly through turn one and in a couple of laps opened up a bit of a gap on Cunningham while Cunningham held a gap on Chip Herr who had his hands full with Pierre Kleinubing who was sticking his Acura here and there looking for passing room.

"After I got by it looked like I had a good run on these guys," Kleinubing said of Pobst and Cunningham.

Once past Herr, Kleinubing started closing in on the leaders setting the fastest lap in the process at 124.426. By lap 12 Pierre had caught Cunningham.

"After the restart it seemed like chip was holding up everyone behind him for a few laps which allowed Randy and I to drive away a bit," said Cunningham. "And then Pierre was definitely coming and I was cranking up the screw up a bit."

But that was about all Kleinubing had for the leaders as he did take a late run at the leaders but couldn't make a dent on either Cunningham or Pobst.

"I just stayed 3rd I didn't have much to do for most of the race," Kleinubing said after the race. "Towards the end it looked like my car was pretty good and I closed the gap again but lapped traffic just put me back quite a bit.

"I don't think that we had anything for Randy all day. I was just trying to keep up."

Cunningham try as he might couldn't solve Pobst's Mazda either as he took two serious runs at the lead but Randy maintained form each time.

"We were going as hard as we could without grinding too hard on them," Cunningham said. "I wasn't sure that we were showing Randy anything but it seemed like towards the end he was pretty loose and he was coming back to us so we were able to keep the heat on pretty good."

Cunningham's final foray for the lead ended when he was balked by a lapped car losing over a second to Pobst who went on to win by almost that margin.

"Lapped traffic absolutely ended my day," Peter said with a shrug. "Without the traffic problems I would have certainly been closer to his back bumper but I would have needed help from one of those lapped cars to balk him up for me to sneak in there."

"Peter just started coming so I had to crank on," smiled Pobst. "My lap times were closely related to how many curbs I chose to hit. I didn't know how many of those I could hit and still finish!

"I was a little loose like PD said. I'm really kind of having fun driving my car with my back end sliding around a lot but I think I went too far, but I got away with it."

"My car came off the last corner really well which is one advantage of being loose but it was just real dicey on the way in," concluded Pobst.

Pierre Kleinubing circulated easily in 3rd position, Chip Herr's QVALE/STaSIS Audi finished all alone in 4th with Charles Espenlaub all alone in 5th in his evil handling Mazda 6.

"This series is so competitive the car has to be 100 percent and the driver has to be 100 percent and if you lose any of that percentage you struggle from there," Espenlaub said.

"The car was a little bit of a handful. It was a little alignment issue in the right rear after the contact at the start."

Will Turner won the multi lap battle of the BMWs over Seth Thomas. Thomas was strong early but Turner got his Edgerock/H&R Springs BMW inside of Thomas on lap 13 going into turn 1 taking over 6th. Turner would go on to finish 6th.

One lap later and in the same turn Thomas spun, probably due to a mechanical problem as Seth's BimmerWorld left that turn smoking heavily not completing that lap.

Plenty of action further back in the pack

Hopefully the fans in attendance were aware enough to follow the epic battle between James Clay (BimmerWorld BMW), Jeff Courtney (MPI Coin/Karavan Audi A4), Brandon Davis (Acura Certified Pre-Owned Acura TSX), Kuno Wittmer (De Sigi Autosport/Autohaus Mercedes C230), and Justin Hall in the DIG Motorsports/Justracing.com BMW.

It began with Clay, Davis and Courtney battling hard for positions 8, 9 and 10.

Early on Davis took a run going into the left-handed turn 4 and got inside of Clay who said no way (hey that rhymes) and he hung on the outside taking the position back as they turned side by side in the right handed turn 5.

With Clay and Davis side by each Jeff Courtney pulled his Audi up to the bumper of Clay pulling along side of Davis be let discretion be the better part of valor as the trio rocketed under the bridge in turn 6!

Hey there is barely enough room for one at a time through there boys!

The action between Clay, Davis and Courtney was so hot that it allowed the skirmish between Kuno Wittmer to join the fun and it became a 5 way duel.

Courtney and his Audi became the survivor as he went on to finish 7th as Davis faded a bit but still finished 8th.

Clay unfortunately slowed noticeably and pitted. James did return and was turning in decent laps but he had lost 3 laps in the process so he finished well back in 22nd.

Hall would fare worse as mechanical problems ended his day after 20 laps. But they were for the most part great laps!

Kuno Wittmer hung on with Courtney and Davis for the longest but his Autohaus Mercedes began smoking and Kuno faded well back to finish 11th.

Freddy Baker finished 9th in his STaSIS/Freddy Baker Audi/ Audi A4 with Nick Esayian showing that Sebring was no fluke finishing a strong 10th in his RealTime Racing Acura RSX.

Various notes

Dino Crescentini didn't race as he left the track for home last night due to a personal situation.

Lance Stewart came from last to 16th winning the Sunoco Hard Charger Award in his Circuit City/Kicker/Eclipse Mazda 6 out of Jim Jordan Motorsports. Pretty stout effort considering that there were no yellows today.

Come to think of it Lance did a great job surviving the start based on his starting position.

The B&M Hole Shot Award went to Rookie driver Billy Revis who also managed to dodge the mayhem in his Motorsports Connection BMW.

If you want to send a note about any of this I can be reached at [email protected]; but be forewarned, we may use your letter in an upcoming article.

:cool:
 

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HEY, CAN YOU PLEASE POST RACE RESULTS IN YOUR POST TITLE SO YOU CAN SPOIL IT FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T SEEN THE RACE YET? HOLY CRAP, DUDE THIS IS THE SECOND F*CKING TIME YOU'VE DONE THIS! HOW ABOUT JUST PUTTING "DISCUSSION OF SPEED TOURING CAR RACING IN YOUR POST TITLE? :swearin: :thefing: :thumbdn: :punch: :hammerhea: :angry: :chairshot: :cursing:

http://forum.mazda6club.com/index.php?showtopic=49586

SHOW A LITTLE COURTESY!
 

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I watched it when i got home form the long beach drift show. It was a pretty bad crash for a handful of drivers. The poor SRT-4's. Mangled. It is good to see other kinds of cars get into the series but they just seem to get wrecked all the time. The 6's are storeng but the Acura team is very very close. I would love to see more out of the Audi,Neons, the Jetta, and the Civic Si hatchback. All of hese guys are new to the series this year.
 

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Last year it was Acura and Mazda down to the last race! I think that the Mazda has come quite a ways in their overall program. With Tri-Point, Tindol and Protomotive leading the way, I think the 6 has come quite a ways in the beginning of it 2nd full year in the program. It was good seeing the other cars in the series, the Civic, SRT-4's and the Jetta. I know that the Volvo S40 is making its debut @ Mid-Ohio, one more model added to the mix.

I think it will some down to the Acura's and the 6's again, with Mazda coming out on top!
 

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Thank you! I was wondering if he won! I left in the middle of the thing to go to my friend's place to install my Eibach springs. That wreck at the beginning was CRAZY!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
HEY, CAN YOU PLEASE POST RACE RESULTS IN YOUR POST TITLE SO YOU CAN SPOIL IT FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T SEEN THE RACE YET? HOLY CRAP, DUDE THIS IS THE SECOND F*CKING TIME YOU'VE DONE THIS! HOW ABOUT JUST PUTTING "DISCUSSION OF SPEED TOURING CAR RACING IN YOUR POST TITLE? :swearin: :thefing: :thumbdn: :punch: :hammerhea: :angry: :chairshot: :cursing:

http://forum.mazda6club.com/index.php?showtopic=49586

SHOW A LITTLE COURTESY!
[/b]
Sorry, I'll put a **SPOILER WARNING**NEXT TIME :nana:
 
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