Sebring: Alex Job Racing qualifying report

Alex Job Racing on Pole in ALMS GTC at Sebring with 81 AJR 80 and 23 to start second and third Sebring, Fla., Alex Job Racing (AJR) will take the start of tomorrow's American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Presented by Tequila Patron Mobil 1 Twelve Hours...

Alex Job Racing on Pole in ALMS GTC at Sebring with 81 AJR 80 and 23 to start second and third

Sebring, Fla., Alex Job Racing (AJR) will take the start of tomorrow's American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Presented by Tequila Patron Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring race from the first, second and third positions on the GTC grid. Having been absent from ALMS competition since 2006, Alex Job Racing has returned the series in a big way taking the top three starting positions in their Porsches.

AJR 81 Qual. Leh Keen drove the No. 81 Mission Foods/Alex Job Racing/Porsche GT3 911 Cup to the pole with a time of 2:05.959 and an average speed of 106 mph. Keen was followed by Patrick Kelly in the No. 80 Car Amigo/Alex Job Racing/Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with a time of 2:07.018. Third in qualifying went to AJR's Romeo Kapudija in the No. 23 Battery Tender/Tequila Patron/Alex Job Racing/Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with a time of 2:07.205.

Keen and teammates Butch Leitzinger and Juan Gonzalez were able to get up to speed very quickly since arriving on Monday. The team had the No. 81 Mission Foods entry toward the top or at the top of the GTC class time sheet nearly every session. The pole time was a natural for Keen, who is the Porsche Club track record holder in a GT3 car at Sebring.

"It was a great lap," Keen said. "We wanted to go out fast and get our two fast laps in and we did. I nailed all of the brake zones and drove my line and it came together for me. Greg (Fordahl) our engineer put a great set-up on the car. It was really a one lap wonder. I got everything out of the car early and was able to get the pole. I have never done the 12-hour before, I did Petit Le Mans a couple of years ago. The car is going to have more of a race set-up on it. We look at this race more like a 24 hour, just cut in half. I am driving with Butch Leitzinger who has a lot of races here under his belt. I have been able to help Butch with the nuances of driving the Porsche. He is a pro and he got right on pace quickly. Juan is very solid behind the wheel and we are looking to have a very good race tomorrow."

AJR 80 Qual Kelly in the No. 80 Car Amigo entry showed consistent speed all week. Running with Luis Diaz and Ricardo Gonzalez, the Minnesota resident will start the race next to his teammate on the front row of the GTC grid.

"I had to make a couple passes during qualifying, that may have held me up a few tenths," Kelly said. "You never how many laps in qualifying you will get and never know how the tires will hold up. The car felt great, the track conditions were really good. The slight loses I had were three or four tenths at best. Every time I have gotten in the car this week the AJR guys have made it better. I am ready to go with Luis and Ricardo tomorrow."

AJR 23 Qual. Kaupudija in the No. 23 Battery Tender/Tequila Patron car showed huge improvement in the qualifying session. The Chicago resident bettered his fastest practice time by nearly two seconds and will start the 12-hour third in GTC. Kapudija is partnered with Bill Sweedler and Jan-Dirk Lueders.

"I improved a lot in qualifying, which I am really excited about," Kapudija said. "I picked up a couple of seconds. I knew I had it in me and that the car would perform. Pat Kelly and I went out together and he drafted by me into Turn One. That was OK because that gave me someone to chase and I think really helped my qualifying effort. We are really happy with a third place start and the team is one-two-three."

Team owner Alex Job has his three cars leading the GTC class to the green.

"It was a great qualifying session for us," Job said. "It is nice to come back to the series and make a little statement with all three of our entries at the front of the GTC grid. It is a testament to our crew and the drivers as well as the work we have put in over the past month. The only problem we've had all week is when the No. 23 had an incident in Turn 17 on Wednesday. The guys were able to get the car back together and didn't miss a beat. Other than that the drivers have all gotten up to speed very quickly and have provided great feedback so we could make the cars faster. We have a nice mix of endurance experience and speed, which is what you want here at Sebring."

The race will be televised in two segments live on the SPEED Channel starting at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 20 and running until 12:00 p.m. SPEED will rejoin the action live at 2:00 p.m. and broadcast through post race interviews signing off at 11:00 p.m. Live coverage also will be available on American Le Mans Radio, as well as Sirius Channel 127 and XM Channel 245. Live Timing and Scoring, track schedule, entry list and much more is available at www.americanlemans.com.

Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in ALMS history with 37 wins. This record is supported by 45 pole positions and 75 podium finishes. The team has won three championships (GT in 2002, 2003 and 2004) complimented by their two GT class wins at Le Mans. The team also boasts six Sebring 12 hour wins.

The ALMS GTC category is specific to one of the most popular factory produced racing cars in the world, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Developed for Porsche's one-make series around the world, the new version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is based on the road-going 911 GT3 RS. The power unit featured in the new 911 GT3 Cup is largely identical to the production engine of the 911 GT3 RS with the same output of 450 bhp and the same maximum engine speed of 8,500 rpm.

-source: alex job racing

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Juan Gonzalez , Butch Leitzinger , Luis Diaz , Ricardo Gonzalez , Romeo Kapudija , Jan-Dirk Lueders , Lehman Keen , Alex Job , Patrick Kelly , Bill Sweedler
Teams Alex Job Racing