Werner gives Team Joest the Petit pole

Werner gives Team Joest the Petit pole

It certainly did not take long for Infineon Team Joest Audi newcomer Marco Werner to figure out how to put together a fast lap around Road Atlanta. In just his second trip to the undulating, natural terrain road course, Werner refused to let a...

It certainly did not take long for Infineon Team Joest Audi newcomer Marco Werner to figure out how to put together a fast lap around Road Atlanta. In just his second trip to the undulating, natural terrain road course, Werner refused to let a damp track get the best of him, outqualifying the LMP 675 class Dyson Racing Lola EX257/AER of James Weaver to claim his third pole of the season.

#1 Infineon Team Joest Audi R8: Frank Biela, Marco Werner.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
"The feeling is great," Werner said after lapping the 12-turn, 2.540-mile circuit in 1:11.738. "We are very happy even though it is a long race. The track was a little damp, but it wasn't too bad. Rain is not a problem for me."

Werner and co-driver Frank Biela currently have a 14-point lead over third-place qualifier J.J. Lehto in the drivers' championship. To win the championship Biela and Werner must finish at least sixth in the LMP 900 class.

"If the car is good tomorrow, we will push hard to try to win the race," Werner said. "The car was not so easy to driver yesterday, but it was much better today. I hope we can win the race and the championship tomorrow."

Olivier Beretta qualified fourth overall in the fastest of the JML Panoz entries, followed by the Dyson Racing Lola EX257/AER of Didier de Radigues. The second Panoz recorded the sixth quickest time of the day, outpacing Jon Field's Banana Joe's MG Lola, the third place LMP 675 qualifier. Field lies 20 points behind de Radigues's co-driver, Chris Dyson, in the LMP 675 drivers' championship.

#80 Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello: David Brabham, Jan Magnussen, Anthony Davidson.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
Ferraris claimed the top three spots in GTS qualifying, with the Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello of David Brabham leading the way with a time of 1:26.338, followed by the Olive Garden Ferrari of Emanuele Naspetti and the second Prodrive entry of Tomas Enge. While the Ferraris seemed to have been set up perfectly for the damp, overcast conditions, the factory Corvettes struggled, qualifying fourth and sixth in class. The third Prodrive Ferrari of Jerome Policand qualified fifth.

"To begin with the track was wet, so everyone went out on rain tires," Brabham said after the fifth pole of his career and the second of the season. "At first there was quite a bit of grip, but then the car started moving around a bit.

"So with nine minutes to go, we decided that it was worth a shot to put on intermediate tires. And after slipping and sliding around for a little bit, we were finally able to get some grip and pull out a quick lap."

In GT, Sascha Maassen claimed his third pole of the season in the Alex Job Porsche GT3 RS, turning a lap of 1:29.391, almost a full second faster than his Alex Job teammate, Timo Bernhard. Newcomer Mike Rockenfeller qualified third in the Orbit Racing Porsche GT3 RS.

"The rain was unexpected, so we didn't really know what to do because we had only practiced in the dry," said Maassen, who's battling a slight head cold this weekend. "Luckily, the tires were really good today."

The sixth annual Petit Le Mans takes the green flag tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.

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