Laguna Seca: Porsche qualifying report

PORSCHE TEAMS IN LMP2 AND GTS QUALIFY IN GOOD POSITION TO EARN MANUFACTURER TITLES; DIRK WERNER PUTS FARNBACHER LOLES RACING PORSCHE ON GT2 POLE ATLANTA - October 17 - Porsche race drivers in the LMP2 and GT2 classes of the American Le Mans ...

PORSCHE TEAMS IN LMP2 AND GTS QUALIFY IN GOOD POSITION TO EARN MANUFACTURER TITLES; DIRK WERNER PUTS FARNBACHER LOLES RACING PORSCHE ON GT2 POLE

ATLANTA - October 17 - Porsche race drivers in the LMP2 and GT2 classes of the American Le Mans Series have put their teams in position to help Porsche clinch the manufacturers championship with solid qualifying efforts for tomorrow race.

The race, which starts at 5:45 PM EDT on Saturday, October 18, and runs for four hours, will be telecast on a delayed basis by NBC-TV on Sunday, October 19, at 2:00 PM EDT. The race will be covered live on the American Le Mans Radio web at www.americanlemans.com, which will also provide live timing and scoring for the event.

In the LMP2 class for prototypes, 2008 Driver Champion Timo Bernhard (Germany), who will share his #7 Penske Porsche RS Spyder with co-champion Romain Dumas (France), earned third place on the grid behind two of the Acuras - a position good enough to gain the manufacturers title if everyone finished the same way. With 25 points to the winners in each class, Porsche leads Acura by eight points in LMP2, and with 21 points for second and 18 points for third, Porsche just needs a podium finish to clinch.

Other LMP2 Porsche RS Spyder qualifiers included Sascha Maassen (Germany), who will drive with Patrick Long (USA) in the #6 Penske Porsche (sixth); Ryan Briscoe (Australia), who will drive with Helio Castroneves (Brazil) in the #5 Penske Porsche (seventh); Guy Smith (England), who will drive with Chris Dyson (USA) in the #16 Dyson Racing Porsche (eighth); and Butch Leitzinger (USA), who will drive with Marino Franchitti (Scotland) in the #20 Dyson Racing Porsche (ninth).

On the 2.238-mile, 11-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca course, Porsche is in an even stronger position to win the manufacturers title - its eighth in the ten years of the series - in GT2 as Dirk Werner (Germany) posted the fastest qualifying time to take his second pole position of the season in the #87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Werner, the 2007 Rolex Grand-Am GT champion, who will drive with Bryce Miller (USA), said a fast, early lap in qualifying helps save the tires for the race.

"Since we have to start on the tires we qualify on, it was important to turn our fast lap early, and then come into the pits and hope no one beat us. As it turned out, we only ran four laps, less than anyone else in class, so our tires will be fresher for the first stint in the race," said Werner, who beat all the Ferraris and the rest of the Porsches for the spot.

With a 15-point lead in the manufacturers championship over Ferrari, Porsche just needs to finish in the top seven to clinch the title.

Joerg Bergmeister and Wolf Henzler (both Germany), who clinched 2008 GT2 drivers championship at the last event, will start second in their #45 Flying Lizard Porsche, while their Lizard team mates Johannes van Overbeek (USA) and Patrick Pilet (France) qualified fourth, and the VICI Racing Porsche of Nicky and Francesco Pastorelli (both The Netherlands) and Marc Basseng (Germany) will start ninth.

The third Lizard Porsche, driven by Seth Neiman/Lonnie Pechnik/Darren Law (all USA) were 15th in class qualifying.

-credit: porsche

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Series ALMS
Drivers Guy Smith , Butch Leitzinger , Helio Castroneves , Sascha Maassen , Darren Law , Timo Bernhard , Patrick Long , Marino Franchitti , Johannes van Overbeek , Ryan Briscoe , Romain Dumas , Seth Neiman , Lonnie Pechnik , Wolf Henzler , Patrick Pilet , Marc Basseng , Dirk Werner , Chris Dyson , Francesco Pastorelli , Bryce Miller
Teams Dyson Racing