MONTEREY, Calif. (May 14, 2012) - Round Five of the Pirelli World Challenge GTS Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca brought maximum points and record numbers for RealTime Racing. Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wis., earned his record-extending 42nd World Challenge career win in the aptly tagged No.42 Acura TSX. It was the 83rd win for an Acura in the World Challenge series, another record-extending statistic. After running third for most of the race, teammate Nick Esayian, of San Diego, Calif., narrowly missed a podium finish, crossing the line in fourth.
After topping both practice sessions, Cunningham set a new World Challenge GTS qualifying lap record, 1:33.094 (86.544 mph) en route to scoring his fourth consecutive pole position. Esayian put in his best qualifying performance of the season, earning the third spot in his No. 34 RealTime/Acura/HPD Acura TSX. The RealTime teammates sandwiched a Porsche Cayman of Jack Baldwin on the GTS grid.
"We've always been fast in Monterey," Cunningham said. "The difference from past years is these V6 engines, which make the straightaways a lot shorter. We've always had an edge here because of the Acura's handling, but now with the extra horsepower we have good speed too."
When the lights went out and the cars launched from a standing start to commence the 50-minute race, Cunningham was scrambling immediately, as a stalled GT car gridded directly ahead of him forced the veteran to take evasive action.
"I had to change lanes and sneak between the wall and a stalled Porsche," Cunningham recalled. "This allowed the whole right lane, including Jack [Baldwin], to edge past me."
Cunningham was not out of the lead for long, as the No. 42 RealTime/Acura/HPD Acura TSX bounced back into the top spot on lap two.
"We were really fast at the beginning," Cunningham said. "I think it takes the Porsche a couple laps to get going. We were just all over him. Coming out of turn six on lap two, after I'd been hounding him all through lap one, I had a huge run on him. He didn't have the exit I had. We were side-by-side going up the hill, we touched, I continued. From there, we had a good pace and we were able to just click off the laps."
One of those laps was the fastest GTS lap of the race, a 1:34.137 (85.585 mph), which extended Cunningham's World Challenge career record to 26 fast