PATRICK LONG CLAIMS FIRST ALMS POLE AS PETERSEN/WHITE LIGHTNING PORSCHE LEADS GT2 CLASS AT LIME ROCK --Patrick Long, from Las Vegas, the only American Porsche factory driver, scored his first American Le Mans Series pole Saturday by turning the...
PATRICK LONG CLAIMS FIRST ALMS POLE AS PETERSEN/WHITE LIGHTNING PORSCHE LEADS GT2 CLASS AT LIME ROCK
--Patrick Long, from Las Vegas, the only American Porsche factory driver, scored his first American Le Mans Series pole Saturday by turning the fastest lap in his #31Petersen Motorsport/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RSR at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut for the two-hour, 45-minute New England Grand Prix (live TV on the Speed Channel on Monday, July 4, at 3:00 PM)--
LIME ROCK, Conn. - July 2 - In a season which has had its extreme peaks and valleys including a victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring and a disappointing second place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Las Vegas' Patrick Long - the only American Porsche factory driver - turned the fastest qualifying laps Saturday to put his Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RSR on the pole for the July 4 New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.
Long edged out Romain Dumas, from Ales, France, in the Alex Job Racing Porsche, to gain his first ALMS pole in his second full year of ALMS competition. For Patrick, who has a Le Mans pole and subsequent victory to his credit (2003), this ALMS milestone is part of something bigger he has yet to achieve.
"My co-driver, Jorg Bergmeister, and I have a single goal for 2005 - an American Le Mans Series GT2 class championship. With a 19-point lead in the title chase, we could have a tendency to be conservative in the race, but I have found that if you drive to avoid problems, you become part of the problem. I'll drive my race, and let the team call the strategy as the race develops," said Long, a Los Angeles native who recently moved to Las Vegas.
"I though we had a fast lap earlier in the session, but in the last turn, I went too fast over a series of bumps and nearly went off the track. We though we could go back out near the end of the session and get just under 54 seconds, but a :53.748 was a pleasant surprise," said the 23 year-old Long.
Second of the grid are the drivers chasing Long and Bergmeister in the points championship - the #23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, with the #50 Panoz Esperante of Bil Auberlen/Robin Liddell third. Fourth is the Le Mans- winning BAM! Porsche driven by Germans Mike Rockenfeller and Wolf Henzler, with the other factory Panoz of Marino Franchitti/Bryan Sellers fifth. The second Alex Job Porsche, with Randy Pobst and Ian Baas at the helm, is sixth, with the two Flying Lizard Porsches, with Lonnie Pechnik/Seth Neiman and Johannes van Overbeek/Jon Fogarty seventh and eighth respectively. Ninth place in the GT2 category belongs to Justin Jackson/Tim Sugden in the J3 Racing Porsche.