Petersen/ White Lightning Takes Lime Rock GT2 Pole Long Earns First Career ALMS Pole Position LAKEVILLE, Conn., July 2, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing returned to the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in strong style today...
Petersen/ White Lightning Takes Lime Rock GT2 Pole
Long Earns First Career ALMS Pole Position
LAKEVILLE, Conn., July 2, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing returned to the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in strong style today earning the pole position for the New England Grand Prix in the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) turned a lap of 53.748 seconds (103.148 mph) around the 1.54-mile Lime Rock Park track to earn his first career pole position in the ALMS. The fast lap was the team's second pole position in ALMS competition; the first being earned on their way to victory at the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Long will be joined by Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) in Monday afternoon's two hour and 45-minute sports car race.
The pole position lap, Long's fourth of the session, was his fastest of the weekend and set a track record for the GT2 class. The Porsche had been quickest in the final practice session leading-up to qualifying and among the fastest in the morning practice as well. However, the qualifying lap was the team's first under 54 seconds. Long's lap was .241 seconds quicker than the second-place qualifier, the No. 23 Porsche of Alex Job Racing, for Monday's race. The No. 31 will start 14th overall in the four-class race.
The two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winning operation owned by Michael Petersen (Las Vegas, Nev.) and managed by Dale White (Las Vegas, Nev.) returned from an extended stay in Europe- where they finished second in their third Le Mans effort- and began preparing the car earlier this week for round four of the ALMS season. With seven races remaining on the schedule, Bergmeister and Long currently share the GT2 class point lead while the Las Vegas-based race team tops both the entrant and IMSA Cup season-long championship chase to this point.
Live coverage of the Grand Prix of New England can be seen on SPEED Channel at 3 PM (EDT), Monday, July 4th. Live Timing and Scoring as well as the American Le Mans Series Radio Web can be found at www.AmericanLeMans.com.
Dale White, team manager: "I'm really happy for the guys and for Patrick. Everyone put so much work into this and it is a good feeling to win the pole here. Unfortunately, Mike isn't here to celebrate with us but he's already called to congratulate the whole team. This is so much of a team effort. Every member of this team continues to raise their game every weekend which is important here. The competition in the ALMS is so strong that you have to better your game every weekend. That's the kind of environment Petersen/ White Lightning wants to be in because, when you perform like we did today, it is even sweeter."
Jorg Bergmeister, driver: "Patrick and the whole team did an awesome job. I haven't done too many laps so far but I think we should have a good car for the race. I'm really excited for the race."
Patrick Long, driver:
(about his qualifying laps): "I made a bit of a mess at the end of my first lap. So, the second lap I was just regrouping. Unfortunately, those were probably the best two laps for the Michelin tires. We were able to pull it out in a little bit of exciting fashion. There's nothing like a little bit of drama. I'm just happy for the guys. It's been a tough month with all the work at Le Mans and coming back and preparing for this weekend. We've continued to grow as a team and the whole crew has really done a good job. I'm just elated we could unload the car and be so close, so quick."
(about the advantages of starting on the GT2 pole position): "Starting upfront is always important especially on a tight and twisty track like we are on here at Lime Rock. Obviously, GT2 cars are closer than ever in lap times so it's going to be interesting in the beginning of the race. There could be the potential for a buffer if we can get around one of the GT1 cars and put them between us and the Alex Job cars."
More on Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing can be found at www.PetersenMotorsports.com. Learn more about Porsche at www.Porsche.com.