Long Lands Petersen/ White Lightning Porsche Second on Mid-Ohio GT2 Grid LEXINGTON, Oh., May 21, 2005 -- Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) entered this weekend's ALMS at Mid-Ohio with the weight of the Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning...
Long Lands Petersen/ White Lightning Porsche Second on Mid-Ohio GT2 Grid
LEXINGTON, Oh., May 21, 2005 -- Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) entered this weekend's ALMS at Mid-Ohio with the weight of the Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing world on his shoulders. With teammate Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) committed elsewhere until Sunday's two hour and 45-minute American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the second-year ALMS Porsche pilot was the focus of the 2005 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring-winning team. Long came through with flying colors qualifying the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR second on the GT2 class grid with a time of on one minute, 22.761 seconds.
Team management, including owner Michael Petersen (Las Vegas), team manager Dale White (Las Vegas), crew chief Stefan Pfeiffer (Croatia) and Long, made the call to keep the No. 31 in pit lane for the first half of the 20-minute qualifying session. The strategy paid-off as early runners faced heavy traffic. Long hit the 2.25-mile, 13-turn track with a gap in traffic that allowed him three, clean, timed laps. Long then gained speed with each circuit. His first lap was in the high one-minute 22-second range, his second lap moved him to second on the grid and the third, and fastest lap, narrowly missed the pole position by just .098 seconds.
Bergmeister is scheduled to arrive in Lexington, Oh. this evening to campaign the No. 31 Porsche tomorrow. His first laps at Mid-Ohio of 2005 will come in the morning warm-up session at 8:10 am (EDT). Long will start the Westward Ho Casino entry in race turning driving chores over to Bergmeister who will race to the finish.
Live TV race coverage of the ALMS at Mid-Ohio can be seen on CBS at 1 pm (EDT), Sunday, May 22. Live timing and scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.
Michael Petersen, team owner: "We had a terrific qualifying session. It sure was exciting to watch on TV. We were so close but yet so far away. The race should be very exciting because there are many cars within several tenths of one another. With the combination of our drivers and team I think we should do pretty well."
Dale White, team manager: "We knew that Patrick was quick. We had been in the top couple of spots every session. He peaked at just the right time. Patrick made the final call to keep the car in pit lane at the start and then went out and immediately, first time around, started putting in the times we needed him to. He did a great all weekend and we're looking forward to tomorrow's race."
Patrick Long, driver: "The car has been phenomenal since we dropped it off the truck. We've just stayed really consistent and chipped away at it closing the gap to the AJR car. It was my first ALMS qualifying showing of the year and, all-in-all, I'm pretty happy with it. We knew that tire temperatures were going to come-up more this afternoon so it was a matter of going out there and just get on it. Coulda, shoulda, woulda, you never know. It was a pretty close one. I think our strong point is race pace. That was the most encouraging thing of the day."