Road Atlanta II: Horag-Lista Racing preview

Horag-Lista Racing Is Looking Forward To Saturday's Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta BRASELTON, Ga., Sept. 27 - Fresh from its victory at the famous Nurburgring in Germany on Sept. 4, Horag-Lista Racing's Lista-sponsored Lola B05/40 Judd No. 27...

Horag-Lista Racing Is Looking Forward To Saturday's Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta

BRASELTON, Ga., Sept. 27 - Fresh from its victory at the famous Nurburgring in Germany on Sept. 4, Horag-Lista Racing's Lista-sponsored Lola B05/40 Judd No. 27 will make its only appearance of the year in America this weekend at the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta here.

The brilliant red-and-white car will be driven in Saturday's 1,000-mile/10-hour race by Didier Theys of Scottsdale, Ariz.; Eric van de Poele of Sart Risbart, Belgium and Thed Bjork of Orebro, Sweden.

The Horag-Lista team, headed by Markus Hotz, is headquartered in Sulgen, Switzerland.

Veterans Theys and van de Poele, who are both natives of Belgium, co-drove the car at the Nurburgring, taking the new Lola Judd to victory in only its third race ever. That race was a Le Mans Endurance Series (LMES) event, while this weekend's Petit Le Mans is part of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).

van de Poele was substituting for Fredy Lienhard of Niederteufen, Switzerland, who will also miss this weekend's events as he recuperates from back problems. He hopes to return behind the wheel of the car at the LMES season finale in Istanbul, Turkey Nov. 12-13, and he will be cheering the team on this weekend from his home in Switzerland via the telephone and the Internet.

Lista-sponsored cars have been very successful in endurance sports car events for many years on both sides of the Atlantic. Although the Horag-Lista team is concentrating on the European series, Lista, the world-wide leader in modular storage units, added the Petit Le Mans to the team's schedule in order to support the American series too. The team plans to compete in both the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in Sebring, Fla. and the Petit Le Mans next year in addition to the complete LMES schedule in Europe.

All three drivers are very optimistic about their chances this weekend with their Michelin-shod car, although they realize that the race is very demanding. Their entry is one of eight in the LMP2 class.

"We have to stay out of trouble," Theys acknowledged. "There are only one or two places to overtake safely, so we must be patient. If the car runs as well as it did in Germany, I think we can do very well."

"If we can run trouble-free, it's even possible for us to finish third on the overall podium," van de Poele suggested.

Bjork, 24, a star of the Swedish Touring Car series, is delighted to be involved, as this race will be his first in this particular car. "This is a great chance for me," he said. Although he's never driven with Theys or van de Poele before, he has a great deal of experience working with other members of the team in other series. He also raced Barber Dodge Pro series cars at Road Atlanta in 2000, so he does know the track.

The No. 27 should be on the course from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday) for practice. More daylight practice is slated for 11:15 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Thursday, and then there are two hours of night practice from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. that day. There is one more hour of practice at 9:40 a.m. Friday prior to the 25-minute qualifying session at 2:05 Friday afternoon.

There is a 25-minute warm-up session at 8 a.m. Saturday morning before the pre-race activities begin at 10:20 a.m. and the green flag drops on the Petit Le Mans at 11:20 a.m. The checkered will fall when one car covers 1,000 miles or 10 hours have passed.

Saturday's race will be broadcast live on SPEED from 11:20 a.m. until 9:20 p.m. Eastern time.

Real-time Internet features during the race are planned for americanlemans.com. For more information please see that Web site as well as lista.com, listaintl.com, horag.com, lmes.net and restartcommunications.com.

-hlr-

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Didier Theys , Eric van de Poele , Fredy Lienhard , Thed Björk