TOOELE, Utah (April 30, 2012) - From the outset it appeared that the RealTime Acura team would produce a strong result in the PrivacyStar Utah Grand Prix presented by Bondurant at Miller Motorsports Park. Instead, a crash between the GTS race leaders in the final corner collected RealTime driver Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wis., while Nick Esayian, of San Diego, Calif., recovered from a momentary start line electrical glitch to a strong fifth-place finish in the diverse 19-car GTS field.
The Utah Grand Prix started with solid practice times. Cunningham set the fastest GTS lap in Friday's final practice session, but the RealTime crew would have to roll up their sleeves after a rare engine failure on Esayian's No. 34 RealTime/Acura/HPD Acura TSX. With only an hour and 40 minutes between practice and qualifying, the crew immediately went to work changing engines.
"I feared I'd have to start from the back of the grid," Esayian said. "But, the RealTime crew was amazing. This was the first time they've had to make a quick swap on the V6 engines and they did it in 90 minutes! I was sitting inside putting my gear on, they dropped the car to the ground and said 'you're ready to go' and I made qualifying, no problem."
Cunningham was there too, and wasted no time, setting a qualifying lap record and GTS pole time of 2:00.108 (91.357 mph) on his second lap. Confident he had wrung all that he could from his lap, Cunningham parked the No. 42 RealTime/Acura/HPD Acura TSX in pit lane and watched the time tick away, with the rest of the GTS field unable to match his pace. It was a record-extending 47th career-pole for Cunningham.
"At Miller you have to hit your marks for a good qualifying lap and have your tires just warm enough," Cunningham said. "I took a whole lap to warm up and on the second lap, I did manage to hit all of my marks and it worked out. It was a real testament to the RealTime guys though, to be able to put the No. 42 Acura on the pole while thrashing so hard to get Nick's car together."
With all hands on deck changing his engine and no time to make adjustments for qualifying, Esayian was still able to put his Acura sixth on the GTS grid.
"After all the hard work by the RealTime crew, it was a shame I that I was blocked by slower cars in the last two corners of my hot lap," Esayian said.