Petersen/ White Lightning To Start Pursuit of Le Mans Three-Peat Sixth LE MANS, France, Thursday, June 16, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing will be forced to start further back than anticipated, sixth in LM GT2 class, 40th ...
Petersen/ White Lightning To Start Pursuit of Le Mans Three-Peat Sixth
LE MANS, France, Thursday, June 16, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing will be forced to start further back than anticipated, sixth in LM GT2 class, 40th overall, in their pursuit of an historic three-peat at the 73rd Annual 24 Heures du Mans on Saturday. The No. 90 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, which has won the pole position and the race for the GT2 class the last two years, went off-course at approximately 10:10 PM (local Le Mans time) as it prepared to take its first flying, timed lap of the day. The lap was intended to be the team's attempt at the pole position for the class, when, just beyond the Dunlop Bridge, the car spun making contact with a retaining wall. Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany), who was in the car at the time, was uninjured in the impact. The No, 90 Porsche sustained substantial damage to the right front corner which will force the team to fall back on a slower time of four minutes, 11.105 seconds set earlier in the day's first session by Bergmeister. The reason for the incident is being studied by team manager Dale White (Las Vegas, Nev., USA), and crew chief Stefan Pfeiffer (Croatia) with the assistance of Porsche Motorsports.
The Petersen/ White Lightning Porsche was returned to the paddock 50-minutes after the incident allowing the team to determine the amount of damage and the course of action to have the car prepared for Saturday's start of the 24 Hour. The Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing entry, with drivers Bergmeister, Timo Bernhard (Dittweiler, Germany) and Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev., USA) is attempting to become the first privately entered, American team to ever win three consecutive GT2 class titles at the classic endurance event in the Sarthe region of France. Bergmeister and Long are endeavoring to win consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans titles with the Michael Petersen-owned team while Bernhard won here in 2002 in another GT2 class Porsche.
Primary damage to the car includes the front fender and bumper, right front radiator and plumbing as well as headlight. However, the most significant concern is the front clip of the 996-based 911 GT3 RSR. The repair of the clip- the front structure of the frame of the car- will require the most time to make. However, the team is confident that the repairs will be made in time for not only the 4 PM Saturday, June 18th start, but also the 9 AM Saturday warm-up.
Dale White, team manager: "We're obviously quite disappointed but the important thing is that Jorg is OK. The team will rally from this and get the car back up to speed for the 24 hours. It's a long race and we're working to be there at the end. Even though everyone is disappointed right now, I think this will inspire us. We won't let it keep us down. We came here to win and that is still what we intend to do. There is significant work to be done to the car for sure but the team is up for it. We have the people to make it happen. Now we just need the time."
Jorg Bergmeister, driver: "I'm not sure. I went into that turn, not even flat which it is usually flat in qualifying, and it just rolled over suddenly. I am not sure what happened, but I'm OK."