LE MANS, France, June 12, 2004 -- The No. 90 Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR took the French Tri-Color flag at 4 pm this afternoon signaling the start of the 72nd Annual 24 Heures Du Mans. Sascha Maassen (Raeren, Belgium) piloted the car through the first hour of competition holding the first position (P1) throughout the stint. The defending champion handed the Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ mail2web.com/ Michelin Porsche over to Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfield, Germany) at exactly 5 pm. Bergmeister pulled-away less than one minute and 30 seconds later with a full fuel tank and a quartet of Michelin Pilot tires. So began the process which would then see the German pull in at 6:01 pm to offer the wheel over to young American Patrick Long. Another brilliant pit stop by the Petersen/ White Lightning crew sent Long out for his first career race laps on the famous circuit. As had his two mentors, Long kept the car firmly in the top spot before turning the car back over to Maassen.
position: class- P1
fuel: The team continues to stretch its fuel mileage and has been able to add significantly with each pit sequence getting 11 minutes (two laps) further on the fourth stint than the third.
tires: The Michelin Pilot tires have performed flawlessly throughout the entire week of practice, qualifying and now four hours into the race. Though they could easily have gone at least one more driver stint, the tires have been replaced each pit stop.
stints: Maassen (starting driver) -- two
Bergmeister -- one
Long -- one
(about the car to this point): "The car runs without any problems so far. Unfortunately, there are just 20 hours to go so, hopefully, we'll stay the same. I would be happy with that."
(about the track conditions): "The track is pretty OK. Just in some of the braking zones it can be pretty slippery there."
(about the dwindling prototype field as a concern for the longevity of the GT cars): "Most of them (GT class cars) are Porsche and they are very solid. So they will be OK. "
For more, please visit www.petersenmotorsports.com.