Road Atlanta: Petersen/White Lightning Racing qualifying report

Dumbreck, Luhr and Muller to Start No. 31 Ferrari on Outside of GT2 Front Row BRASELTON, Ga., October 5, 2007 - Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing narrowly missed the GT2 class pole position for tomorrow's Petit Le Mans in a ...

Dumbreck, Luhr and Muller to Start No. 31 Ferrari on Outside of GT2 Front Row

BRASELTON, Ga., October 5, 2007 - Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing narrowly missed the GT2 class pole position for tomorrow's Petit Le Mans in a back-and-forth battle for the top spot on the production car-based grid. Dirk Muller (a native of Germany now living in Monaco) held the fastest lap with the No. 31 MMPIE/PAWS/Petersen Holdings/Michelin Ferrari F430 GT for most of the 25- minute qualifying session on the 2.54-mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta facility before a yellow flag on his last lap kept him from re-taking the pole position late in the session. The time lost slowing for the caution was more than enough to lose the hot lap and allowed the No. 62 Ferrari to hold a slim advantage in time. The Michael Petersen (Las Vegas, Nev.) owned team missed its fourth American Le Mans Series GT2 class pole position by an eye-blink 0.138 seconds as a result of the yellow flag.

Today marked the eighth time in the 11 qualifying sessions held in 2007 that the Dale White (Bozeman, MT) managed team has qualified on the front row of the GT2 grid. Peter Dumbreck (born in Scotland but living in Adderbury, England) and Lucas Luhr (born in Koblenz, Germany but now living in Ermatingen, Switzerland) will share the two-time Petit Le Mans defending class champions entry with Muller in the tenth anniversary of the ten hour/1,000 mile endurance race here in Braselton, Ga on Saturday.

Muller, the 1999 Petit Le Mans GT2- then known as GT class- winner, turned nine laps with his fourth lap of one minute, 21.798 seconds being the quickest. He held the pole position from his second lap (1:21.860) to his third when the Nevada-based team momentarily dropped to second-place. Seconds later Muller streaked across the start/finish line in the white and neon yellow Italian exotic with the red lightning bolt down the side recapturing the fastest time with his quick lap. The two-time American Le Mans Series Driver Championship-winning team fell to second on lap five and closed on the fastest lap before two separate incidents slowed the pace of the Salt Lake City-winning machine. With time running out and the need to save the four Michelin Pilot racing slicks for tomorrow's endurance race kept the team from mounting another counter-attack.

Muller will take the green flag at 11:16 AM (ET) tomorrow morning before handing over driving duties to Dumbreck, who is making his Road Atlanta debut. The Scot will turn the No. 31 over to Luhr, the 2002 Petit Le Mans GT2 class winner, before the rotation begins again. While the race is scheduled to run a distance of ten hours or 1,000 miles, which ever comes first, it has never gone to the full timed distance, always surpassing 1,000 miles first.

A final, 25-minute warm-up session will be held race morning from 8-8:25 AM local time.

Michael Petersen, Owner: "It was close. We are happy to be on the front row and it is a long race. We are right where we want to be."

Dale White, Team Manager/Entrant: "This is why we love GT2 racing. Qualifying was really close and that was fun to watch even though we came up a little short this time. We look forward to more of the same thing in tomorrow's race. I think the tenth anniversary Petit Le Mans will be as exciting as any of them so far."

Peter Dumbreck, Driver: "Dirk has put us in a good position to start the race. I hope that we can run the pace of the other lead cars. From there it is a case of staying out of trouble, maintaining a decent speed and not making any errors ourselves. The obvious goal is to win. I think we have the speed and consistency. The key will be avoiding any trouble with the prototypes, especially as it gets dark, but it is the same every race."

Lucas Luhr, Driver: "For sure I need some more experience with the car but I think tomorrow is the best opportunity to get some. I am really looking forward to the race and I think we should have a good race. We have a good, drivable car and driver lineup- wise we are also strong. The team is really good in pit stops; we saw it last night when the guys were practicing. From that point everything looks good and I really wish we would start the race soon."

Dirk Muller, Driver: "It wasn't the best conditions for everybody out there because of the rain in the last practice. The conditions were very slippery and way off the pace from yesterday. I had a very good run going nearly through all of qualifying on the pole. The track improved lap-by-lap and I just got the yellow flag in my last try at turn six and I had to slow down. I just missed the pole; very close. This is a good sign for the race tomorrow."

-credit: pr/wlr

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Series ALMS
Drivers Dirk Müller , Lucas Luhr , Peter Dumbreck , Michael Petersen