Bergmeister Puts the No. 80 Porsche on the GT2 Pole for Le Mans
June 11, 2009 - Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, France -- Joerg Bergmeister put the Flying Lizard No. 80 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR on the GT2 pole today for the 2009 24 Heures du Mans. This is Bergmeister's and the team's first ever pole at Le Mans. Bergmeister set the fastest GT2 lap during the first of two two-hour qualifying sessions. His time of 4:03.202 just edged out the next closest GT2 car by three-hundredths of a second (the Felbermayr No. 77 Porsche driven by Marc Lieb). This is the second pole in a row for Bergmeister, following his pole in May at the American Le Mans Series Utah Grand Prix.
Rain dampened Wednesday's practice, so the initial qualifying session today was the first opportunity for dry track setup. "Because the track was so wet on Wednesday, one of our top objectives for the first qualifying session was to get Darren Law and Seth Neiman some laps on a dry track," commented Bergmeister. "We were able to work a bit on setup during the first session, then at the very end we put on a set of stickers and I was able to get a solid lap before it got dark. The car was OK but we still have some room for improvement in our setup."
The Lizards had intended to run the entire second qualifying session today, but with 30 minutes left to go, an issue with the left rear suspension sent Darren unexpectedly back into the pits. He was able to return safely with no further damage to the car but the problem put an end to the session for the No. 80 Porsche. Engineer Stefan Pfeiffer added, "It was unfortunate that we lost the setup time at the end of the session. We are still diagnosing the issue: luckily we have all day on Friday for repairs, and also the morning warmup on Saturday to do a shakedown. It's a long race and we'll be starting from the front of the grid."
Bergmeister, a Porsche factory driver, has competed at Le Mans seven times, twice with Flying Lizard (2007 and 2008). He won in GT2 in 2004 and finished on the podium three times and in the top five in four out of the seven races. In addition to his 2009 GT win at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Bergmeister has also won the last three American Le Mans Series races in a row in the Flying Lizard No. 45 (with Patrick Long) and is leading the ALMS drivers' championship. For a full bio, click here.
Law and Neiman will join Bergmeister in the No. 80 for the 24 Heures du Mans, which takes the green flag at 15:00hr CET on Saturday, June 13. This will be Law's first time at Le Mans, but he's no stranger to endurance racing: he's driven with the Lizards in the American Le Mans Series since 2004, and earlier this year, he won the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Neiman, who drives with Law in the No. 44 in the ALMS, is currently in fourth in the ALMS drivers' championship - 2009 will be Neiman's fifth consecutive 24 Heures du Mans.