Laguna Seca: Rahal Letterman Racing qualifying report

RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING TO START FOURTH IN GT2 ALMS SEASON FINALE MONTEREY, Calif - Geared up to claim the first win in the brief American Le Mans Series history of Rahal Letterman Racing, Tom Milner, Ralf Kelleners and the Bell Micro team put ...

RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING TO START FOURTH IN GT2 ALMS SEASON FINALE

MONTEREY, Calif - Geared up to claim the first win in the brief American Le Mans Series history of Rahal Letterman Racing, Tom Milner, Ralf Kelleners and the Bell Micro team put themselves in position by matching a season-high in today's GT2 qualifying session at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Milner snapped off a fast lap of 1:24.201 (95.690 mph) around the 2.238-mile Monterey layout, snaring the fourth spot in the GT2 field for tomorrow afternoon's four-hour ALMS season finale. The qualifying pass was the fastest lap of the day for the Rahal Letterman Racing squad and put them fourth on the grid for the second straight event.

"Fourth is good but we are still a good bit behind (Jorg) Bergmeister in third, so we have some work to do," Milner said. "But we don't have any balance issues with the car, so we aren't trying to bring it back from the edge. We still have time to work on it before the race, but fourth is still a good spot for us, especially in a four-hour race."

Kelleners will start tomorrow's Monterey Sports Car Championships behind the wheel of the #18 Bell Micro Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, making his first ALMS start at the newly-repaved MRLS circuit since he finished fourth in class in 2004.

"The track is really not that much different from the last time I was here," Kelleners recalled. "Everything is a little smoother and you can use the curbs a lot more, which of course, makes for faster lap times. We're down on speed a little, but we are not going to stop working on it yet. We have another session in the morning and we intend to be quicker after that."

Teams will have a 25-minute warmup session prior to the start of tomorrow's race - which incidentally will be started by the flag arm of five-time MRLS race winner, and Rahal Letterman Racing co-owner, Bobby Rahal. Rahal, who won a Can-Am race on California circuit in 1979 to go with four IndyCar wins on the Monterey Peninsula, will be part of the inaugural class of inductees to the Legends of Laguna Seca and will be honored in a ceremony on Saturday along with Dan Gurney, Pete Lovely and Wayne Rainey.

The RLR squad plans on making a number of major changes to its Porsche overnight in an attempt to close what is a gap of eight-tenths of a second back to the third-placed Flying Lizard Porsche of Bergmeister - secure in the knowledge that the team has a good baseline on the car before the changes.

"We are going to make a big move tomorrow to try and find speed, which we can do because we have such good balance in the car," Milner said. "If we can't find that speed, we can just go back to our qualifying setup because it is still very good in race trim. The balance is important because the competition in GT2 is so close that you can't give anything away. If you give up some time in a corner, you know that the other guys are going to hit that corner and suddenly you find yourself trying to make up time on them."

-credit: rlr

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Series ALMS
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Dan Gurney , Wayne Rainey , Pete Lovely