Tough day at Laguna Seca

#6 Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing AMR/Lola Coupe B08/62: Lucas Luhr, Klaus Graf
#6 Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing AMR/Lola Coupe B08/62: Lucas Luhr, Klaus Graf

Photo by: Bob Heathcote

Salinas, CA (September 16, 2011) - Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing will be starting Saturday's six-hour event at Laguna Seca from the second row after qualifying fourth today.

Klaus Graf who was aboard the Aston Martin for the 15-minute session initially took over the top spot on his first fast lap but despite constantly improving his lap times, he was relegated to fourth by the time the checkered flag fell on qualifying.

The German registered a fastest lap of one minute 15.564 seconds but struggled with a lack of grip and was unable to catch the turbo-powered Mazdas of Dyson Racing.

Starting next to the Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing LMP1 car, in third, will be its sister car of the factory Aston Martin Racing team.

Graf and Lucas Luhr will have a 20-minute warm-up on Saturday morning to make final adjustments to the car ahead of the main event later that day.

The ModSpace American Le Mans Monterey race will go green on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. PT and will be streamed live on ESPN3.com. The event will also be broadcast on tape delay on ESPN2 Sunday, September 18 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Bullitt makes Laguna Seca debut

Muscle Milk Pickett Racing's Mark Bullitt is making his debut at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama.

After two productive test sessions on Thursday and a practice this morning, the German took part in the 30-minute qualifying session this afternoon in which he grabbed the 16th spot on the starting grid for Saturday's 45-minute race.

Bullitt initially placed 14th on his first fast lap before improving to 10th early on in the session but with a close field battling for the top spots it was not an easy job and the driver of the Muscle Milk Porsche GT3 Cup car had to settle with an eighth row start.

Race #1 of the weekend will go green at 10:20 am PT on Saturday, September 17.

MUSCLE MILK QUOTES

AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES DRIVERS

Klaus Graf, co-driver Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing
"It wasn't our best qualifying effort, but at the end of the day it's a long race and I'm sure we'll have a better race car tomorrow.

"It was tough in qualifying today. I struggled with grip and couldn't do the things I wanted to do out there. That makes it obviously a bit difficult and frustrating as well. But on the other hand, I know it's such a long race and it doesn't really matter where we start.

"I'm confident for tomorrow's race, we had good sessions in the practices and in the long runs I think we were the most consistent and that's important."

Lucas Luhr, co-driver Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing \"Starting fourth is certainly not where we wanted to be but you could see that Klaus was struggling with grip. Unfortunately, we didn't improve as much as we wanted from yesterday, but I'm confident our Muscle Milk guys will turn our Aston Martin into a very quick and consistent racecar for tomorrow.

"For me it's not really a big deal where we start. Whether you start first or fourth in a six-hour race it doesn't matter, but I'd rather be fourth today and first tomorrow than vice versa!"

IMSA GT3 CUP CHALLENGE BY YOKOHAMA DRIVER

Mark Bullitt, driver #6 Muscle Milk Team CytoSport
"The Laguna Seca track is very nice, it's a good circuit that is fun to drive. There didn't seem to be much grip out there today plus we had a small issue with the car but qualifying still went OK. It wasn't great but it's a very tough field and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. We've always been consistently fast in the races so we'll focus on the race and see how it goes.