Road Atlanta: Doran-Lista Saturday notes

Theys to start third in LMP 900 Class and fourth overall in tomorrow's Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta on CBS. BRASELTON, Ga., June 28 - The weather played havoc to qualifying Saturday at Road Atlanta Motorsports Park for tomorrow's Chevy Grand Prix...

Theys to start third in LMP 900 Class and fourth overall in tomorrow's Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta on CBS.

BRASELTON, Ga., June 28 - The weather played havoc to qualifying Saturday at Road Atlanta Motorsports Park for tomorrow's Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race. As a result, a car's best time in two afternoon practice sessions determined its starting spot.

Eric van de Poele was in the Doran-Lista Dallara MG #27 when its fastest lap was run in the dry, recording an average speed of 123.062 mph on the car's 15th circuit of 26 around the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course. That ended up being the third-fastest time of the LMP 900 class and fourth overall. The team's lead driver, Didier Theys, will start tomorrow's two-hour, 45-minute race, which will be broadcast live on CBS from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time.

"Didier had to run in the rain but I ran in the dry, so it was easy for me," said van de Poele, who is substituting for Fredy Lienhard Sr. this weekend. "This is the best car I've ever driven at Road Atlanta. When you arrive and you only have to work on the details because the base-line set-up is perfect, it's fantastic. We are missing Fredy [Lienhard Sr.], but other than that, everything is fantastic."

"Eric was fastest; it started to rain when I was out," Theys said. "This morning [in practice] Eric tried two different Michelin tire compounds, and now we'll try to decide which one to use tomorrow. We made a small shock adjustment which gave us better traction today. Everything is good."

Tomorrow's weather forecast is just like today's: warm and humid with a chance of showers.

If they could have their choice, would they prefer tomorrow's race to be run under dry conditions or wet?

"I think we have a better chance of winning if it rains," said van de Poele, a past winner of this race. "If the other cars go sliding off, we could get by them easier."

"We don't really know if our car is better in the rain or the dry," pointed out Theys. "We've never run this particular car in a wet race. Rain is a great equalizer, but then again, we could make a mistake in the rain too."

"It's a sprint race, so I'd prefer it to be in the dry," said team owner Kevin Doran. "It's better for the drivers, the crew and the fans. When it's in the wet, there's too great a chance for an accident. If it was a 24-hour race and a few hours were run in the rain, that would add an element to the event, but for a sprint race, I'd hope it was dry."

Fans won't have much longer to wait. A warm-up session is on the schedule at 8:10 a.m. tomorrow, and the race itself will get the green flag at 3 p.m. Eastern time.

For more information, see www.lista.com, www.doranracing.com, www.americanlemans.com, www.imsaracing.net, www.roadatlanta.com and www.restartcommunications.com.

-dl/lm-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Didier Theys , Eric van de Poele , Fredy Lienhard , Kevin Doran