PENSKE RACING PORSCHE RS SPYDER TO START FIRST IN LMP2 AT SEBRING; PORSCHE AND FERRARI SHARE TOP SIX POSITIONS IN GT2 AS NEW 911 GT3 RSR DEBUTS -Defending champion Faieta wins opening IMSA Challenge by Michelin event in 2008 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup...
PENSKE RACING PORSCHE RS SPYDER TO START FIRST IN LMP2 AT SEBRING; PORSCHE AND FERRARI SHARE TOP SIX POSITIONS IN GT2 AS NEW 911 GT3 RSR DEBUTS
-Defending champion Faieta wins opening IMSA Challenge by Michelin event in 2008 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racer; Pobst on front row in SPEED World Challenge--
SEBRING, Florida -- March 13, 2008 -- Timo Bernhard (Germany), defending American Le Mans Series LMP2 co-champion, has placed his #7 Penske RS Spyder on the the first starting position without turning a wheel for Saturday's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
LMP2 -- Penske Racing Porsches on front row
Bernhard, who won the LMP2 championship last year with co-driver Romain Dumas (France), was sitting in the car ready to leave the pits about eight minutes into the 25-minute qualifying session when the session was red-flagged because of an accident and the subsequent required clean-up. At first, the Penske Porsche team was chagrined because neither RS Spyder had qualified, but the International Motor Sports Association determined by rule that, because of the incomplete session, starting positions will be determined by fast times in the previous practice sessions.
"I would have liked to capture the pole position by going faster than the other cars in the class, but starting fourth overall and first in class certainly beats starting at the back of the pack with no qualifying time," said Bernhard, who will be joined by Dumas and Emmanuel Collard (France) for Saturday's race.
The #6 team Porsche RS Spyder of Patrick Long (USA), Sascha Maassen (Germany), and Ryan Briscoe (Australia) will start second in class, followed by the Fernandez/Diaz Acura (third), and the Marino Franchitti (Scotland), Butch Leitzinger (USA), Andy Lally (USA) Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder (fourth).
The Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder of Guy Smith/Chris Dyson is sixth, and Freddy Leinhard/Didier Theys/Jan Lammers Porsche RS Spyder will start eighth.
GT2 -- Porsches and Ferraris
In the GT2 class, two Ferraris (Melo/Salo/Bruni and Mueller/Farnbacher/Bell) are on the front row, followed by the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Jorg Bergmeister/Wolf Henzler/Marc Lieb (third), the Lizard team Porsche of Johannes van Overbeek/Patrick Pilet/Richard Lietz (fifth), the Farnbacher Loles Porsche of Dirk Werner/Marc Basseng/Bryce Miller (sixth), and the VICI Racing Porsche of Uwe Alzen/Craig Stanton/Nathan Swartzbaugh (eighth).
IMSA Challenge by Michelin -- Round #1
Bob Faieta, from Tujunga, California, the defending IMSA Challenge by Michelin champion, drove his 2008 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car to an overall victory and a Platinum class win in the opening event at Sebring. Faieta, who captured the pole position for the event, took the lead at the drop of the green flag and cruised to a four-second win.
Second overall and first in the Gold Class (2005 -- 2007 Porsche Cup cars) was Tony Rivera, from Houston, TX, who had the event's best position battle with Ross Smith, from Dallas, TX, also in a Gold Class Porsche. Dino Steiner (Germany) was second in the Platinum Class and fourth overall.
The 2008 IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge continues to give top semi-professional and gentlemen drivers from the United States and North America the opportunity to compete with such prestigious organizations as the American Le Mans Series and the Formula One in the world's most successful GT car -- the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racer. The purpose-built race cars, based on the 2008 Porsche 911 body style, has sealed engines and transmissions, providing for close racing where the driver's talents are exemplified. Porsche Motorsport North America provides technical support for the series with personnel, parts and expertise both away from and at the track.
Randy Pobst on Front Row for Speed World Challenge GT
Defending SPEED World Challenge GT champion Randy Pobst, from Gainsville, George, will start on the front row for Friday's 50-minute event at Sebring International Raceway.
Pobst, driving the K-PAX/3R Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, was second fastest going into the qualifying session, and was trying to earn the pole when the session was cut short by a vehicle fire, leaving the officials to grid the cars based on previous practice times.