DETROIT, Mich. (June 4, 2012) - Street course racing is demanding by nature, but even more so on the bumpy streets of Detroit, an unfamiliar circuit for many of the teams in the Pirelli World Challenge Championships. RealTime Racing, with Acura drivers Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wis., and Nick Esayian, of San Diego, Calif., were relieved to come away from the brutal doubleheader weekend with two podium finishes and the GTS Manufacturers' Championship lead intact.
After a rainy Friday morning, the RealTime team had limited helpful data to prepare for Saturday morning's qualifying session. The rest of the GTS field was in a similar position, and it showed, with the top five qualifiers separated by only 0.557 seconds. Cunningham earned the fourth spot on the GTS grid with a lap of 1:34.274 (79.428 mph). Esayian lined up 13th, turning a 1:36.335 (77.728 mph).
Saturday - Race One
As can happen on street courses, the signature World Challenge standing start erupted into chaos when the GT polesitter stalled and was subsequently rear-ended by another car. In the midst of the chaos, Cunningham lost a spot to Jack Baldwin's Porsche Cayman S at the launch, but found his way past the third quickest qualifier Michael Galati in his Kia Optima on the approach to turn 3. Meanwhile, Esayian had a great launch moving up to 11th without incident. The race immediately went full-course yellow to clean up the GT accident on the front stretch and would remain so until lap 12.
On the restart, Cunningham was ready to go, passing the Baldwin Porsche in turn 3 and Aaron Povoledo's Ford Mustang Boss 302S exiting turn 7 on the same lap. This put Cunningham's No. 42 RealTime/Acura/HPD Acura TSX in the runner-up spot. Three laps later a second accident brought out a second lengthy full-course yellow, which forced the race to end under caution.
"There wasn't much racing going on out there with all the time we spent under yellow," Cunningham said. "That's somewhat expected on street courses like this and we have to be thankful that it wasn't either of our cars involved in those accidents. I do wish we would have had more opportunities to show what the Acuras were really capable of."
Admittedly disappointed in his qualifying performance, Esayian channeled his frustration in the few green flag laps available. The No. 34