Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing On Top in First Laps at Salt Lake City Enge Sets Quick Lap in Miller Motorsports Park Testing TOOELE, Utah, May 17, 2007 - Tomas Enge (a native of the Czech Republic now living in Monaco) returned to...
Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing On Top in First Laps at Salt Lake City
Enge Sets Quick Lap in Miller Motorsports Park Testing
TOOELE, Utah, May 17, 2007 - Tomas Enge (a native of the Czech Republic now living in Monaco) returned to the cockpit of the No.31 MMPIE/PAWS/Petersen Holdings/Michelin Ferrari F430 GT at the same place he left it on March 31; on top. In the first official activity for the Utah Grand Prix here at Miller Motorsports Park, Enge lapped the 4.5- mile, 24-turn circuit in two minutes, 45.587 seconds setting the quickest GT2 lap time for the one hour, 30- minute test session. Enge's longtime teammate Darren Turner (Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England), who is making his debut with the Michael Petersen (Las Vegas, Nev.) owned team this weekend, lapped at 2:46.527 on used Michelin tires.
Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing and Enge have become accustom to being quick. Enge sat on the front row in the first two events of the American Le Mans Series before sustaining serious injuries at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 31. He was leading from the pole position at the St Pete event, having set the race's fastest GT2 lap, when he made heavy contact with the wall. He suffered a shattered left elbow, contused lung and several cracked ribs. He underwent surgery on April 6th and was, due to hard work and a commitment to his rehabilitation, cleared to drive for Saturday's two hour and 45 minute race. He and Turner tested the Dale White (Bozeman, MT) managed car on Saturday and Sunday of this week before an engine problem caused the test to be cut short on Sunday afternoon.
Once contacted on Sunday afternoon, Ferrari Corse Clienti and Michelotto Automobili worked to return an engine, which was already scheduled for rebuild, to be shipped to the two-time American Le Mans Series GT2 champions. The team received the replacement engine from Italy this morning at 8:30 AM. The crew immediately went to work cutting the anticipated four hour engine change time considerably with the Ferrari 4.0 litre V8 roaring to life at 11:45 AM.
The team will have two, one hour practice sessions on Friday with qualifying scheduled for 3:40 PM (MT).
Dale White, Team Manager/Entrant: "You don't plan for a driver to come back from an injury and set fastest time but you hope for it. Tomas didn't miss a beat. The guy is an animal. All he wants to do is win. Darren stepped in and got right up to speed also. I think we have the right combination of drivers, car and crew for this weekend. We're looking forward to Saturday. We keep having challenges thrown at us and the team keeps stepping up and overcoming them. That's pretty satisfying."
Tomas Enge, Driver: "So far it is going well. We know what we can do and where we have to improve as well. I was driving to my ability of the arm. So far I am happy but it is early in the weekend. I want to feel like this on Saturday at the checkered flag. The elbow is for sure not 100% but I am trying to complement the left hand with the right one. We know that we can improve and in what areas. We will try in these areas but so far the test we did over the weekend helped us. The car feels OK but there is still some space for improvement."
The Utah Grand Prix will take the green flag at 5:05 pm (MT) on Saturday, May 19. Television coverage will be provided by CBS Sports at May 20 at 1 pm (ET). The event can be heard live on the American Le Mans Series Radio Web, available through the American Le Mans Series web site, or on XM Satellite Radio on the Sports Nation channel (Channel 144) from 7 to 10 pm (ET).