Sears Point: Petersen/White Lightning qualifying report

Petersen/ White Lightning To Start Second For Grand Prix of Sonoma SONOMA, Calif., July 16, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing will start second on the GT2 class grid for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Sonoma. It is the fifth time...

Petersen/ White Lightning To Start Second For Grand Prix of Sonoma

SONOMA, Calif., July 16, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing will start second on the GT2 class grid for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Sonoma. It is the fifth time in five races that the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR has qualified on the front row for the production-based class of the America Le Mans Series (ALMS). Included in the class points leading team's tally for qualifying performances this year are two pole positions- the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring season opening event and the most recent race at Lime Rock Park. Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) turned a lap of one minute 34.558 seconds around the 2.53-mile, 12-turn Infineon Raceway. The time was just 3/10ths of a second behind the pole-winning No. 23 entry. Bergmeister and teammate Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) have been in the top-two performers throughout testing and practice for Sunday's two hour and 45-minute sports car race. Long set the fastest time in the last practice session prior to qualifying.

The Michael Petersen-owned team will be pursuing their fifth consecutive podium finish of 2005 with the drop of the green flag at 11 AM (PDT) here tomorrow. Thus far in the season, the Westward Ho Casino Porsche has one win (Sebring), three second-place finishes and one third. Along with the competition, the temperatures are expected to be one of the biggest factors inside the No. 31 Petersen Porsche. Track temperatures were recorded at 109 degrees (Fahrenheit) by Michelin Tire technician during the 20-minute qualifying session with ambient temperatures over 90 degrees. Earlier in the weekend, track temperatures rocketed over 115 degrees with ambient temps at 93. Conditions are expected to continue through tomorrow's event where cockpit temperatures could exceed 150 degrees.

The Grand Prix of Sonoma can be seen on Sunday, July 17th on CBS Sports at 3 PM (EDT). Live timing and scoring and live radio coverage from the American Le Mans Radio Web can be found at www.AmericanLeMans.com.

quotes...

Dale White, team manager: "We'll take second to start the race. We feel like we got about everything out of the car that we could for that session. The drivers are very happy with the car so we are looking forward to the race tomorrow. Our goal is to win the race. The pole would be nice, like we had at Lime Rock, but that isn't really what we set our priorities for. Tomorrow is our aim."

Jorg Bergmeister, driver: "I was actually planning on doing one slower lap at the beginning but the car was already feeling good on the out lap. So, I decided to go for it on the first lap. The car was running really good. Setup-wise we're setting up for the race so maybe we lost a little time there. The race is what counts. The time was about it for that setup. We couldn't have gone any quicker. But we are just looking for the race and a good car for the full distance."

Patrick Long, driver: "It was a great job by Jorg to put a lap in like that in this heat. The pole is obviously the goal, but Alex Job set the bar pretty high. We were really chasing them. That was a great effort. The team has done a great job this weekend. I think we've made more changes in the last two days than we have the last two races. It was a good effort to put in all the work they did in this heat. I think we're looking good for the race."

More on Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing can be found at www.PetersenMotorsports.com. Learn more about Porsche at www.Porsche.com.

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Jörg Bergmeister , Patrick Long , Michael Petersen , Alex Job