AUDI REGAINS TOP SPOT IN PETIT AFTERNOON PRACTICE
Audi returned to the top of the timing chart at Road Atlanta on Thursday afternoon in advance of Petit Le Mans. Allan McNish toured the 2.54-mile, 12-turn circuit in 1:09.295 in the No. 1 Audi R10 TDI he shares with Dindo Capello. McNish holds the existing track record, a 1:10.379 he set in 2000 in an Audi R8.
The freshly repaved surface at Road Atlanta continued to yield quick times. Penske Racing's Ryan Briscoe was second overall and first in LMP2 at 1:09.894. His time in the Porsche RS Spyder he is sharing with Sascha Maassen and Emmanuel Collard was more than 1.5 seconds better than the class qualifying record set last year by Lucas Luhr in the first-generation RS Spyder.
The second Penske Porsche of Romain Dumas, Timo Bernhard and Patrick Long sat third overall and second in class at 1:09.929. It was nearly 0.7 seconds ahead of the Lowe's Fernandez Racing Lola-Acura of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz. Next was the second-quickest of the P1 cars - the Zytek 07S of Tom Chilton and Darren Manning at 1:10.710 followed by the Team Cytosport Lola at 1:10.855.
In GT1, Corvette Racing's two Corvette C6.Rs set the pace again. Oliver Gavin put the No. 4 entry at the head of the class with a time of 1:16.955. The No. 3 Corvette was at 1:17.250, followed by Doran Racing's Maserati MC12 at 1:17.679.
Jaime Melo turned in the best GT2 lap on his final pass of the session, a 1:20.793 in Risi Competizione's Ferrari F430 GT that he will share with Mika Salo and Johnny Mowlem. The Petersen/White Lightning Ferrari of Dirk Muller, Peter Dumbreck and Lucas Luhr was second at 1:21.294 with Graham Rahal third in the Rahal Letterman Racing Porsche at 1:21.404.
Near the midpoint of the session, the top eight cars in GT2 were running within 0.7 seconds of each other.
The two-hour night practice session is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight.