Strong qualifying performance from JML squad at petit. A sprinkling of rain did not dampen JML Team Panoz's chances of success at Petit Le Mans in qualifying today at Road Atlanta. Olivier Beretta will start tomorrow's 10 hour / 1000 mile ...
Strong qualifying performance from JML squad at petit.
A sprinkling of rain did not dampen JML Team Panoz's chances of success at Petit Le Mans in qualifying today at Road Atlanta.
Olivier Beretta will start tomorrow's 10 hour / 1000 mile classic from the second row of the grid after qualifying fourth fastest today at 1 minute, 13.290 seconds in the #10 car he will share with regular partner, David Saelens plus Max Papis.
Scott Maxwell was just behind in 6th place at 1:14.166 aboard the #11 machine he is driving with young-guns Gunnar Jeannette and Benjamin Leuenberger.
Both drivers faced damp conditions at the start of the qualifying session and began on intermediate Michelin rain tires.
As a dry line began to emerge, Maxwell was the first to change to slick rubber, followed one lap later by Beretta.
Times began to tumble as the track became dryer with Audi's Marco Werner eventually taking the pole position at 1:11.738.
Both JML Team Panoz combinations made steady improvement this morning, also finishing 4th and 6th fastest in the single practice session.
The teams will face a final 30 minute warm-up tomorrow at 8.00am before the race faces the green flag at 11.30am.
The final round of the 2003 American Le Mans will be broadcast on Speed Channel.
"I am very happy about the work that the team has done on the car from the first practice through to now.
"At the start of qualifying we ran on intermediate Michelin tires, but the track dried very quickly.
"It took a couple of laps to get some heat into the tires and you had to be very careful not to drift off-line and spin on the wet parts of the road.
"The car was still quite easy to drive and I am interested to see what it will be like on full tanks in the warm-up tomorrow."
"The team has done a great job recovering from Wednesday's dramas and I pretty pleased with the way qualifying worked out.
"It was pretty dicey initially when I first went onto slicks, but the car came in quite well.
"We are still struggling with a little bit of understeer but we will work on some further improvements over night.
"We may not have had the fastest car in qualifying, but I think it is a very good race car - it should be quite easy to drive throughout the ten hours of 1000 miles."
"The balance of the car was very good this morning.
"Our guys worked very hard overnight to improve the car and the results showed straight away.
"It was raining about ten minutes before qualifying, but got dryer and dryer as the session continued.
"Our guys worked hard in giving Oli information over the radio as to what times everyone else was doing.
"Starting fourth is very promising for us and together with Max and Olivier and I think we can finish quite well by the end of the night."
"I am definitely looking forward to tomorrow and I think we will have a very good racecar.
"We made some great improvements today and our top speed is up - the guys have worked very hard on the car overnight.
"Scotty did a very good job in qualifying which was tough because it was wet early but the Michelin guys sent him out on slicks at the right time.
"If we have a good consistent run I think we can definitely end up on the podium tomorrow."
"I was really pleased to find the car improved in every aspect this morning and the support from Michelin has been superb.
"In all conditions today the car has been very strong which will stand us in good stead for tomorrow's race.
"It will be a very long day, but I think the three of us will make a very good combination and I am really looking forward to the race."
BENJAMIN LEUENBERGER "We had a very good practice session this morning and improved the car a lot from yesterday when we had some problems with the set-up.
"This will be my first Petit Le Mans and I really can't wait. It is going to be a very good experience for me.
"From the way the car felt this morning, I am certainly extremely optimistic about our chances."