Porsche final qualifying report

American ALMS Porsche teams shatter Le Mans track record; eight Porsches and four Ferraris to battle Saturday for LM GT win. ATLANTA -- June 13-- The five Porsche 911 GT3 RS factory drivers all broke last year's Le Mans track record yesterday...

American ALMS Porsche teams shatter Le Mans track record; eight Porsches and four Ferraris to battle Saturday for LM GT win.

ATLANTA -- June 13-- The five Porsche 911 GT3 RS factory drivers all broke last year's Le Mans track record yesterday in pursuit of the pole position for the 71st running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the 8.625-mile Circuit de la Sarthe in France, but it was Lucas Luhr who grabbed the brass ring in the final session to head the LM GT grid. American-based racing teams captured the top three positions for Saturday's race.

Luhr snatched the top time from co-driver Sascha Maassen early in the final qualifying session on Thursday night to break last year's GT qualifying record by almost three seconds. Along with Frenchman Emmanuel Collard, Luhr and Maassen are driving the Alex Job Racing/Petersen Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RS, a brand new car picked up from the Porsche factory by Alex Job and Mike Petersen just before practice days in May, and rebuilt by the crew after a May practice crash. Luhr's record-setting time was 4:06.984.

At various times during the final day of qualifying, when hot and humid weather made the track warm and sticky, and cool evenings made the air temperature perfect for fast times, The Racer's Group Porsche, featuring factory drivers Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister along with car owner Kevin Buckler, also broke last year's record, with Bernhard setting the second-place qualifying time of 4:07.028.

The youngest of the all-German Porsche factory driver squad, 21 year-old Marc Lieb, who captured the GT pole earlier this season at the 24 Hours at Daytona, put the Orbit Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS in third position with a 4:09.913. Lieb will share the driving duties Leo Hindery and Peter Baron for the race.

Other qualifying highlights:

--The PK Sport Porsche with Liddell/Warnock/Masarati on board did notimprove its time on Thursday, but held on to fourth position.

--The Seikel Motorsport Porsche, with Burgess/Lloyd/David Shep at the wheel,with Tony Burgess doing the driving, moved up three places in the finalThursday night session to the eighth position on the grid.

--The three top Porsches are all running on Michelin tires, and all of thoseteams -- Alex Job and Petersen Motorsports, The Racer's Group, and OrbitRacing -- use Michelins in the ALMS series.

--Pole-sitter Lucas Luhr, who teamed with Timo Bernhard and Kevin Bucklerto win at Le Mans in The Racer's Group Porsche last year, also finished firstin the GT class in 2000 (with Dirk Mueller in Dick Barbour's Porsche), butwas disqualified for a fuel cell violation. Luhr has won the 12 Hours ofSebring four years in a row -- a class record he shares with Bob Holbert.

--Leo Hindery, one of the Orbit Racing drivers and CEO of the YES (New YorkYankees) TV network, is featured in a front page Wall Street Journal articlethat ran yesterday about the battle between the Yankees and Cablevision.

The weather for Saturday's races promises to be hot and humid, but no rain.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans will be broadcast live on The Speed Channel TV network starting with a summary of qualifying at 9:00 AM Eastern time on Saturday, June 14. The Speed Channel will be live until 1:00 PM, as well as 2:30 PM -- 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM -- 8:00 PM. The live coverage resumes early Sunday morning from 12:30 AM -- 10:30 AM for the finish and winner's circle ceremonies.

The entire event will be broadcast live online on the Le Mans Radio Network, which can be accessed on the Web at www.lemansradio.com. Live timing and scoring are available at www.lemans.org.

24 Hours of Le Mans -- Final LM GT Qualifying

1. ALEX JOB RACING/PETERSEN MOTORSPORTS (USA) 93 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS (LM GT)
Luhr, Lucas (DEU)
Maassen, Sascha (DEU) -- turned pole time
Collard, Emmanuel (FRA)
Best lap -- 4:06.984 (Luhr)

2. THE RACERS GROUP - KEVIN A. BUCKLER (USA) 81 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS (LM GT)
Buckler, Kevin. (USA)
Bergmesiter, Jorg (DEU)
Bernhard, Timo. (DEU)
Best lap -- 4:07.028 (Bernhard)

3. ORBIT RACING(USA) 87 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS (LM GT)
Hindery, Leo. (USA)
Baron, Peter. (USA)
Lieb, Marc. (DEU)
Best lap - 4:08.913 (Lieb)

4. PK SPORT LTD (GBR) 78 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS (LM GT)
Liddell, Robin. (GBR)
Warnock, David. (GBR)
Masarati Piers. (GBR)
Best lap - 4:11.623

5. RISI COMPETIZIONE (USA) 94 FERRARI 360 MODENA (LM GT)
Borcheller, Terry (USA)
Kelleners, Ralf (DEU)
Lazzaro, Anthony (USA)
Best lap -- 4:11.865

6. TEAM TAISAN ADVAN (JPN) 77 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS (LM GT)
Iida, Akira. (JPN)
Yogo, Atsushi. (JPN)
Nishizawa, Kazuyuki. (JPN)
Best lap - 4:13.104

7. RISI COMPETIZIONE (USA) 95 FERRARI 360 MODENA (LM GT)
Leitzinger, Butch (USA)
Mowlem, Johnny (GBR)
Lewis, Shane (USA)
Best lap -- 4:15.342

8. SEIKEL MOTORSPORT (DEU) 83 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS (LM GT)
Shep, David (CND)
Burgess, Tony (CND)
Lloyd, John (USA)
Best lap -- 4:16.792

9. DEWALT-RACESPORTS SALISBURY (GBR) 92 TVR TUSCAN T400R (LM GT)
Sugden, Tim (GBR)
Jordan, Mike (GBR)
Caine, Michael (GBR)
Best lap: 4:16.872

10. JMB RACING (FRA) 70 FERRARI MODENA (LM GT)
Terrien, David (FRA)
de Simone, Fabrizio (ITA)
Babini, Fabio (ITA)
Best lap - 4:17.138

11. THIERRY PERRIER (FRA) 75 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS (LM GT)
Khan, Ian (MC)
Neugarten, Michael (MC)
Smith, Nigel (GBR)
Best lap -- 4:18.579

12. SPYKER AUTOMOBIELEN BV (NLD) 85 SPYKER C8 DOUBLE 12R (LM GT)
Coronel, Tom (NLD)
Hugenholtz, John. (NLD)
Simon Norman. (DEU)
55 laps, Best lap - 4:18.887

13. XL RACING (FRA) 99 FERRARI 550 MARANELLO (LM GT)
Barde, Ange (FRA)
Ferte, Michel (FRA)
Lesoudier, Gael (FRA)
Best lap -- 4:20.245

14. DEWALT-RACESPORTS SALISBURY (GBR) 91 TVR TUSCAN T400R (LM GT)
Stanton Richard. (GBR)
Barff, Rob (GBR)
Hay Richard. (GBR)
Best lap -- 4:20.288

15. T2M MOTORSPORT (DEU) 84 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS (LM GT)
Ickx, Vanina (BEL)
Berville, Roland (FRA)
Bourdais, Patrick (FRA)
Best lap -- 4:27.443

-porsche-

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