Utah: Porsche qualifying report

PORSCHE RS SPYDER, 911 GT3 RSR CAPURE POLE POSITIONS IN TWO CLASSES FOR SUNDAY'S UTAH GRAND PRIX NEAR SALT LAKE CITY TOOELE, Utah -- May 17 -- Drama flowed freely during both 20-minute qualifying sessions for tomorrow's Larry H. Miller...

PORSCHE RS SPYDER, 911 GT3 RSR CAPURE POLE POSITIONS IN TWO CLASSES FOR SUNDAY'S UTAH GRAND PRIX NEAR SALT LAKE CITY

TOOELE, Utah -- May 17 -- Drama flowed freely during both 20-minute qualifying sessions for tomorrow's Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by The Grand and Little America Hotels, with the Penske Porsche RS Spyder capturing the overall and LMP2 class pole, and the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR winning the top spot in the GT2 class.

Timo Bernhard (Germany) and his #6 Penske Porsche RS Spyder sat third overall behind two Acuras with seven minutes left to go in qualifying when he came into the pits low on fuel.

"My engineer asked me if I wanted to try again for the pole as the Michelins were wearing quite well, and he thought we could afford another two laps. I saw I was not far behind, and gave it another try. I put in a good lap, and then another good lap before the checkered flag. I didn't know until I came into the pits that those laps were good enough for the pole," said Bernhard, who has now captured 12 ALMS class poles and four overall poles.

He and his co-driver Romain Dumas (France) lead the LMP2 championship after three events after winning the 12 Hours of Sebring overall and winning the LMP2 class at St. Petersburg.

The de Farran/Peganaud Acura was second; the Diaz/Fernandez Acura third; and the Brabham/Sharp fourth -- both overall and in class -- followed by the #6 Penske Porsche RS Spyder qualified by Patrick Long (USA). Long will drive tomorrow with veteran ALMS champion Sascha Maassen (Germany).

The RS Spyders of the Dyson Racing team struggled to live up to the promise they displayed in practice where they often sat at the top of the charts. The #20 qualified by Butch Leitzinger (USA) and co-driven by Marino Franchitti (Scotland), was seventh overall and sixth in class, while the #16, driven in the session by Guy Smith (England)and co-driven in the race by Chris Dyson (USA) wound up tenth overall and eighth in class.

The GT2 qualifying session proved to be every bit as exciting, as Wolf Henzler (Germany) turned in a pole-winning time of 1:47.135 in the #45 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR Flying Lizards Motorsports. Henzler's time held up despite a last lap flyer by Jaime Melo in the Ferrari F430 GT, whose time wound up being identical to Henzler's.

"In case of a tie, the pole goes to the driver who set the time first," said Henzler. "So now we know we can go fast," he added. "The car is much improved and this track configuration is better for Porsche than last year's longer course set-up," said Henzler.

Henzler's pole was the second of his ALMS career, the first coming at St. Petersburg earlier this year. For the race, Henzler will team with Jorg Bergmeister (Germany), while fellow Flying Lizard team members Patrick Pilet (France) and Johannnes van Overbeek (Germany) will team in the #46 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Henzler and Bergmeister are six points out of the points lead in GT2 after three events.

Other top Porsche qualifiers in GT2 included the Marc Basseng/Dirk Werner Farnbacher Loles 911 Gt3 RSR (fourth); the VICI Racing Porsche of Nicky Pastorelli/Francsico Pastorelli/Ruben Carrapatoso (12th); and the Seth Neiman/Darren Law Flying Lizard Porsche (14th).

The Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by The Grand and Little America Hotels, which will start at 3:05 PM EDT, will be carried live nationally on SPEED TV (3:00 PM -- 6:00 PM EDT). All track sessions will be scored live on www.americanlemans.com, and race action will be broadcast on American Le Mans radio, also at www.americanlemans.com. Photos and race stories on the Porsche competitors will be filed at www.porschemotorsport.com (click on motorsports news).

-credit: porsche motorsports

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Series ALMS
Drivers Guy Smith , Sascha Maassen , Darren Law , Jörg Bergmeister , Jaime Melo , Timo Bernhard , Patrick Long , Marino Franchitti , Romain Dumas , Seth Neiman , Wolf Henzler , Nicky Pastorelli , Patrick Pilet , Marc Basseng , Dirk Werner , Chris Dyson
Teams Dyson Racing