Bibendum meets Bratwurst, Michelin makes its Road America debut; Audi's Tom Kristensen and Lucas Luhr's Alex Job Porsche claim poles. * Amazingly, when practice opened Friday, July 5th for the American Le Mans Series it marked the first time...
Bibendum meets Bratwurst, Michelin makes its Road America debut; Audi's Tom Kristensen and Lucas Luhr's Alex Job Porsche claim poles.
* Amazingly, when practice opened Friday, July 5th for the American Le Mans Series it marked the first time that Michelin factory fitted cars have taken to the historic 4.0-mile long Road America track. Thankfully, it didn't take long for the Michelin teams to find their racing legs against top competitors from five other tire companies.
* Michelin claimed its first Road America pole in the GT class when Lucas Luhr impressed even his Alex Job #23 Porsche teammate Sascha Maassen with his qualifying lap of 2:12.862 minutes. Taking the second spot was the Alex Job #22 Porsche driven by Jorg Bergmeister.
* Minutes later, Audi's Tom Kristensen uncorked a lap at 1min. 52.166 seconds to claim the LMP 900 and overall race pole for Michelin by a whopping 1.8 seconds over teammate Emmanuelle Pirro. Panoz teammates Jan Magnussen and Bryan Herta took the third and fourth spots. "We ran a low fuel load and the car just really stuck all the way around The Carousel in fifth gear,' said Kristensen.
* "We had some pretty good ideas of what to expect racing here for the first time," said Jerry Rinaldo, Manager of Michelin North America's ALMS program. "You are never really sure until you put the cars on the track. We are building our experience and data base every car, every lap."
* A team of 20 Michelin engineers, tire fitters and operations managers are on site with over 1800 tires to support the 11 Michelin entries at Road America. Michelin dedicates an engineer to each of its teams. "We are pleased to have claimed a pair of poles, now we want to follow those up with the wins, said Rinaldo."
* It isn't always easy to be a leader, but Michelin and its teams seem to like it up front. Entering this weekend's Road America 500, Michelin teams have led 5,369 of the 5,567 laps (96.443 percent) in ALMS competition since the series began in 1999. The last time that another tire company led an ALMS race came in September of 2000, 16 races ago. Goodyear, Pirelli, Dunlop, Yokohama and Avon all compete in the ALMS.
* In addition to their victories at the last five editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Michelin teams have won 30 of the 31 ALMS races held to date.
* The Michelin ALMS team sends Congratulations! And best wishes for good luck to Juan Pablo Montoya and the Williams BMW Formula 1 team that claimed the pole for Sunday's British Grand Prix at Silverstone, England. This is the fourth consecutive race in which Montoya's Michelin fitted Williams BMW has taken the pole.