Damien Faulkner Captures GTC pole in Green Hornet Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for Saturday Race
Baltimore, MD – August 31, 2012 – Patrick Long (USA), driving the #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, turned his fastest lap in the last minute of qualifying to move up to fourth position on the GT grid for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Baltimore present by SRT. But the main story of the day was the battle of the safest, most effective topping for trolley tracks that cross the front straightaway.
Last year at this event, there was a chicane on the front straight of the 2.04-mileto slow the cars down over the trolley tracks. No one liked the chicane, and many cars hit the barriers, so this year the promoter decide to cement over the train tracks instead, but they created enough of a raised surface that IndyCar rookie Simon Pagenaud flew in the air about 20 feet this morning, damaging his car and scaring most of the IndyCar competitors. So then they decided to grid down the cement bump and re-install the chicane, but the bulky netted-tire barrier they installed cuts down the line-of-sight on the track and could cause damage if hit. So overnight, the promoter will install curbing where the tires are presently to keep the shape of the chicane, but eliminate the tire barrier.
Long, who will share his ride with fellow Porsche factory driver Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), was a little disappointed in his qualifying position, but, with the lack of track time and potential for heavy wear-and-tear on the car.
“Qualifying came down to how much you were willing to cut the curbs – the dilemma is whether to go for your best lap time and risk damage to the car, or lose a little time and not use the curbs. We already have had too little track time – and with the chicane construction – even 25 percent less time, so we are happy overall with our fourth place result. There is nothing ideal about 600 pounds of netted tires forming a chicane, and if you hit those, your weekend could be over. The curbing tomorrow will be an improvement. We could have raced without the chicane, but this is an IndyCar weekend as well, and we had to have a solution that is good for everyone,” said Long.
Defending Baltimore GT champion Team Falken Tire qualified seventh with Porsche factory driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) at the helm in the 911 GT3 RSR he will share with Bryan Sellers (USA)
“Seventh position was not what I expected for qualifying today; I thought we could do a bit better, but I couldn’t go any faster. We will be stronger in the race. We can build more consistent lap times because our tires will not wear as fast as the others. Jumping over the railroad tracks was too much. It was all four wheels in the air. It’s for sure a good thing for the fans. But when you can avoid the potential for hurting the car, you should use the chicane as a solution,” said Henzler.
Right behind Wolf was Sascha Massen (Germany) in the Paul Miller Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
“We are in eighth place, not too bad for our first day. We have improved the car since this morning, but I didn’t get any time in the car this afternoon because of the red flag, so I had to learn the track during qualifying. But we have a good race strategy and should compete for a good result,” said Maassen.
Seth Neiman (USA), the #44 Flying Lizard Porsche he will share with Porsche factory driver Marco Holzer (Germany), qualified 12th.
In ALMS GT Challenge for matched Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, Irishman Damien Faulkner grabbed the pole position in the Green Hornet Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Faulkner’s co-driver, Peter LaSaffre, is still in contention for the driver’s championship, and the team really needs a win here to challenge WeatherTech’s Cooper MacNeil.
“The Green Hornet guys would have made dozens of adjustments to steadily improve our car, but there was no time for any work on the car for the very few laps we have had on the track. The Green Hornet Porsche was really great in qualifying. This pole position is important for a street course where it is hard to pass, and our good finish here keeps us in the championship fight,” said Faulkner, who captured his fourth pole of the season.
Leh Keen, driving the WeatherTech Alex Job Racing Porsche, was second on the GTC grid in the car the currently leads the points with co-driver Cooper MacNeil. Canadian Michael Valiante, who was the fast car during part of the 15-minute qualifying session in the JDX Hertz Porsche, was third, followed by Spencer Pumpelly in the TRG Porsche.