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Skeen, Cunningham and Cooper Top First Pirelli World Challenge Practice at St. Petersburg

 

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -  It didn't take long for Mike Skeen, from Charlotte, N.C., to get re-acquainted with his No. 2 Hawk Performance Chevrolet Corvette, as the three-time 2011 race-winner found his way to the top of the time charts in Friday morning's first Pirelli World Challenge Championships practice session for the Acura Sports Car Challenge presented by Pirelli season-opening doubleheader.

Mike Skeen (No. 2) led the first practice of the 2012 World Challenge season at St. Petersburg. Credit:  Mark Weber/SCCA

Skeen posted a best lap at 1:16.766 (84.412 mph) with approximately five minutes remaining in the 30-minute session to lead the first of two Pirelli World Challenge practices on Friday. Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wis., was quickest in the GTS class and Michael Cooper, of Syosset, N.Y., led Touring Car.

After winning the 2011 Touring Car championship, Lawson Aschenbach, of Darnestown, Md., was second quickest in his first practice session upon returning to the GT class. Aschenbach, who also won the 2006 GT title, posted a best time of 1:16.826 (84.346 mph) in the No. 1 Privacy Star/Entrust/TruSpeed Porsche GT3.

Randy Pobst, a three-time St. Pete winner and four-time World Challenge GT champion, was third quickest in the opening session. Pobst turned in a best lap at 1:17.820 (83.269 mph) in the No. 6 K-Pax Racing Volvo S60.

A new, V6 powerplant appeared to pay immediate dividends for RealTime Racing teammates Cunningham and Nick Esayian, of San Diego, Calif., as the duo swept the top two spots in GTS in Practice 1. Cunningham, a six-time World Challenge champion and a nine-time champion in SCCA Pro Racing competition, led the GTS session at 1:22.137 (78.893 mph) in the No. 42 Acura/HPD/RealTime Racing Acura TSX.

Esayian was second at 1:23.106 (77.973 mph) in the No. 34 Acura/HPD/RealTime Racing Acura TSX. Veteran road racing champion Jack Baldwin, of Marietta, Ga., was third in the No. 68 Team Hot Wheels/GTSport/PNR Porsche Cayman S at 1:23.638 (77.477 mph).

Cooper, the 2011 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup champion, led his first World Challenge Touring Car session with a lap at 1:29.073 (72.749 mph) in the No. 03 MAZDASPEED Motorsports MAZDASPEED3 for Atlanta Motorsports Group. Tristan Herbert, of Reston, Va., who earned his first career World Challenge victory in Race 2 at St. Petersburg last season, was second quickest this morning at 1:29.158 (72.680 mph).

Patrick Seguin, of Clarence Creek, Ontario, Canada, was third in Touring Car Practice 1. Seguin's best lap was a 1:29.350 (72.524 mph) in the No. 80 Capsparts.com/Theberge Homes Volkswagen Golf GTI.

The opening practice was slowed twice by red flags. The first red came out inside the first 10 minutes of the session when Enzo Ricciardelli, of Argentina, came to a stop in Turn 2 in the No. 65 TLMUSA.com/Mindeporte Volkswagen Jetta GLI. A second red for debris came out just past the halfway point in the session.

A second World Challenge practice is scheduled for this afternoon. The 30-minute session starts at 5:25 p.m. ET.

ST PETERSBURG, Fla. - Results from practice session #1 for Friday's World Challenge Championships Round 1 race, the Acura Sports Car Challenge presented by Pirelli, with position, class, car number in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, fastest lap time, and speed in miles per hour.

  1. GT, (2), Mike Skeen, Charlotte, N.C., Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 1:16.766, 84.412.
  2. GT, (1) Lawson Aschenbach, Darnestown, Md., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:16.826, 84.346.
  3. GT, (6) Randy Pobst, Gainesville, Ga., Volvo S60 AWD, 1:17.820, 83.269.
  4. GT, (3) Johnny O'Connell, Flowery Branch, Ga., Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, 1:18.096, 82.974.
  5. GT, (4) Dino Crescentini, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:18.109, 82.961.
  6. GT, (14) James Sofronas, Newport Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:18.603, 82.439.
  7. GT, (46) Justin Marks, Davidson, N.C., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:19.224, 81.793.
  8. GT, (47) Tomy Drissi, Hollywood, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:19.292, 81.723.
  9. GT, (9) Alex Figge, Denver, Colo., Volvo S60 AWD, 1:19.563, 81.444.
  10. GT, (99) Jeff Courtney, Milwaukee, Wis., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:20.023, 80.976.
  11. GT, (77) David Welch, Bothell, Wash., Ferrari F430 GT, 1:20.577, 80.420.
  12. GT, (11) Tony Gaples, Lincolnshire, Ill., Chevrolet Corvette, 1:23.798, 77.328.
  13. GT, (8) Andy Pilgrim, Marina Del Rey, Fla., Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, no time.
  14. GT, (12) Jason Daskalos, Albuquerque, N.M., Nissan GTR, no time.
  15. GT, (85) Jason Carter, Dallas, Texas, Porsche 911 GT3, no time.
  16. GTS, (42) Peter Cunningham, Milwaukee, Wis., Acura TSX, 1:22.137, 78.892.
  17. GTS, (34) Nick Esayian, San Diego, Calif., Acura TSX, 1:23.106, 77.972.
  18. GTS, (68) Jack Baldwin, Marietta, Ga., Porsche Cayman S, 1:23.638, 77.476.
  19. GTS, (50) Justin Bell, Los Angeles, Calif., Ford Mustang Boss 302S, 1:24.170, 76.987.
  20. GTS, (55) Richard Golinello, Oldsmar, Fla., Ford Mustang FR500S, 1:24.704, 76.501.
  21. GTS, (20) Andy Lee, Colorado Springs, Colo., Chevrolet Camaro, 1:24.958, 76.273.
  22. GTS, (16) Alec Udell, The Woodlands, Texas, Ford Mustang Boss 302 R, 1:25.124, 76.124.
  23. GTS, (19) Jason von Kluge, Ann Arbor, Mich., Ford Mustang Boss 302S, 1:25.318, 75.951.
  24. GTS, (95) Bill Ziegler, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Mitsubishi EVO, 1:26.422, 74.981.
  25. GTS, (39) Todd Napieralski, Chelsea, Mich., Chevrolet Camaro, 1:26.697, 74.743.
  26. GTS, (23) Roger Miller, Salt Lake City, Utah, Ford Mustang Boss 302S, 1:26.720, 74.723.
  27. GTS, (36) Michael Galati, Olmstead Falls, Ohio, Kia Optima 2000cc, 1:26.787, 74.665.
  28. GTS, (26) Alfonso Perri, Brooklyn, N.Y., Ford Mustang Boss 302S, 1:27.198, 74.313.
  29. GTS, (07) Brian Kleeman, Towson, Md., Nissan 370 Z, 1:27.786, 73.815.
  30. GTS, (51) Ric Bushey, Virginia Beach, Va., Nissan 370 Z, 1:29.369, 72.508.
  31. GTS, (29) Harry Curtin, Buffalo, N.Y., Chevrolet Camaro, 1:29.626, 72.300.
  32. GTS, (38) Colin Braun, Charlotte, N.C., Kia Optima, 1:31.866, 70.537.
  33. GTS, (52) Greg Shaffer, Harrisonburg, Va., Nissan 370 Z, 1:35.297, 67.998.
  34. GTS, (37) Karl Poeltl, Knoxville, Tenn., Porsche 996, no time.
  35. GTS, (96) Brad Adams, New Orleans, La., Ford Mustang Boss 302S, no time.
  36. TC, (03) Michael Cooper, Syosset, N.Y., Mazda 3, 1:29.073, 72.749.
  37. TC, (33) Tristan Herbert, Reston, Va., Volkswagen GTI, 1:29.158, 72.680.
  38. TC, (80) Patrick Seguin, Clarence Creek, Ontario, Canada, VW Golf GTI, 1:29.350, 72.523.
  39. TC, (71) Todd Lamb, Atlanta, Ga., Honda Civic Si, 1:29.385, 72.495.
  40. TC, (81) Anthony Rapone, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, Honda Civic Si, 1:29.410, 72.475.
  41. TC, (70) Rob Holland, Denver, Calif., Honda Civic Si, 1:29.539, 72.370.
  42. TC, (67) Shea Holbrook, Groveland, Fla., Honda Civic Si, 1:30.198, 71.842.
  43. TC, (72) Ryan Winchester, Mason City, Iowa, Honda Civic Si, 1:31.301, 70.974.
  44. TC, (69) Gustavo Michelsen, Lima, Peru, Honda Civic Si, 1:31.638, 70.713.
  45. TC, (63) Roberto Ricciardelli, Venezuela, VW Jetta GLI, 1:37.113, 66.726.
  46. TC, (88) Aaron Povoledo, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, VW Jetta GLI, 1:43.246, 62.762.
  47. TC, (53) Mel Shaw, Voorhees, N.J., VW GLI, 1:51.276, 58.233.
  48. TC, (64) Brander Peterson, Breckenridge, Colo., Honda Civic 2.0, no time.
  49. TC, (65) Enzo Ricciardelli, Venezuela, VW Jetta GLI, no time.
  50. TC, (66) Augusto Ricciardelli, Venezuela, VW GTI, no time.
Friday, March 23, 2012