Petersen/White Lightning Takes Sixth GT2 Front-Row of Season PORTLAND, Ore., July 29, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing will start tomorrow evening's Grand Prix of Portland (Ore.) from second on the GT2 class grid here at ...
Petersen/White Lightning Takes Sixth GT2 Front-Row of Season
PORTLAND, Ore., July 29, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing will start tomorrow evening's Grand Prix of Portland (Ore.) from second on the GT2 class grid here at Portland International Raceway. The time of one minute, 12.794 seconds by Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) marked the sixth time in six American Le Mans Series (ALMS) races that the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR has started from the front-row of the GT2 class grid. Twice this season the Michael Petersen-owned effort has sat on the pole position for ALMS races. It is the third-time for Long to qualify the class point leading ride while teammate Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) turned the laps the other three events. Bergmeister and Long have each split pole positions with the German claiming fastest lap at Sebring International Raceway at the season-opener and Long running the quick time at Lime Rock Park.
Track conditions are the primary concern for the team entering tomorrow's two hour and 45-minute race. The 1.944-mile track has been baked under a cloudless Oregon sky making its 12-turns very slick over the course of a over one hour plus driving stint. Team manager Dale White (Las Vegas,) crew chief/ engineer Stefan Pfeiffer (Croatia) and Michelin Tire engineer Brian Monprode (Oxford, Mich.) have used yesterday's test session and today's two practice sessions to focus on race setup to minimize the loss between pit stops. The strategy was successful enough to give the No. 31 the top spot in practice in two of the three practice/ test sessions held thus far. The Petersen/ White Lightning team will have a final warm-up at 10:45 AM (PDT) Saturday morning. The race will start at 5 PM local time, 8 PM eastern.
The Portland Grand Prix can be seen live on SPEED on Saturday, July 30th at 8 PM (EDT). Live timing and scoring for all sessions can be viewed at www.AmericanLeMans.com.
Jorg Bergmeister, driver: "Our race setup is already pretty good. It is a very consistent car. I think that is the most important thing here because the grip level drops really drastically after a few laps. We should be fine for the race. It will be an interesting race also with pit strategy. You might come in for just tires. I know from last year there are parts on this track that it is like driving in the rain and you drive off-line to try and find more grip. If you push really hard at the beginning of the stint you will suffer for that after ten or fifteen laps and your times will drop really significantly."
Patrick Long, driver: "Qualifying was good. I put together a string of laps I was happy with. Unfortunately, we were just a little shy to the AJR car. But the real test of this weekend will be race pace. There is about a two second drop-off over the course of a stint. So, it will come down to how someone manages their tires. The car is solid and we've been really focused on the race setup. We're looking pretty positive."