Porsche Motorsports first qualifying report

--Former Porsche ALMS champion Cort Wagner, from Los Angeles has surprised the field of Porsche 911 GT3 RS by placing the factory Callaway C12-R on the provisional pole for Saturday's 69th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the Circuit de la ...

--Former Porsche ALMS champion Cort Wagner, from Los Angeles has surprised the field of Porsche 911 GT3 RS by placing the factory Callaway C12-R on the provisional pole for Saturday's 69th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the Circuit de la Sarthe in France--

LE MANS, France -- Porsche teams were given a rude wake-up call Wednesday after the first two qualifying sessions for the 69th edition of the Le Mans 24 hours when former Porsche driver, Cort Wagner, from Los Angeles placed the Callaway C12-R Corvette-powered racer on provisional LM-GT pole position.

Wagner, replacing the injured American Shane Lewis, who had a leg operation last month but developed an infection and was forced to miss Le Mans, set a time of four minutes 13.063s, eight tenths faster than the Larbre Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RS of Patr ice Goueslard, Sebastian Dumez and Jean-Luc Chereau.

Current American Le Mans Series GT leaders - the two McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS entries from Alex Job Racing - did not enter this year's event, opting to spend the break in the ALMS schedule getting ready for the grueling second half of the season, which s tarts July 22 at Sears Point in California.

There were very few problems for the Porsche teams during the opening day of this year's Le Mans. The Seikel Porsche of Gabrio Rosa, Fabio Babini and Luca Drudi - the 2000 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona winning drivers - was third fastest in class after breaking a new driveshaft in the opening minutes of the first qualifying session.

Last year's GT winners, Team Taisan Advan, were fourth fastest with Hideo Fukuyama, Atsushi Yogo and Kazuyuki Nishizawa was fifth in their Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

Tom Kristensen set fastest time overall in the Audi R8 with a 3m32.458s lap, more than a second clear of his team-mate Rinaldo Capello. Jan Lammers' Dome was fourth fastest, ahead of Olivier Beretta in the Chrysler Viper and Martin Brundle in the Bentley. The top Cadillac was 11th fastest, that of Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli and Christophe Tinseau.

Oliver Gavin set the GTS-class pole position time in the Saleen S7R, 1.3s clear of the second-place Corvette of Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Scott Pruett. That car was crashed heavily by Fellows early in the second session, destroying the rear end of the C5R and leaving the Pratt and Miller team with a lot to do before tomorrow's Thursday's two qualifying sessions.

In stark contrast to previous decades, when there was no live coverage of the event, this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans is already on the air, with live coverage of the Wednesday and Thursday qualifying sessions on Radio Le Mans (www.radiolemans.com) starting at 11:00 AM EST. In fact, Radio Le Mans is already on the air, and will remain live all day and all night through Sunday's race conclusion.

No less spectacular is the Speedvision TV network's coverage of the race, featuring live, flag-to-flag coverage starting this Saturday at 9:30 AM EST - a half-hour before the green flag flies. Speedvision will remain on the air for a post-race show on Sun day from 10:00 AM - 10:30 AM EST, followed by the classic racing movie "Le Mans."

The official Porsche web site - www.porsche.com - will have qualifying information on the 24 Hours of Le Mans for all the Porsches entered, and will file stories and photos during and after the race. Porsche web site users should choose "North America" on the home page when prompted to choose a country, then choose "motorsports," then "motorsport news" to find the ALMS updates.

Other web sites that will follow the overall event include the official Le Mans site (www.lemans.org) and Motorsport.com (www.motorsport.com)

-PM-

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Series Le Mans
Drivers Jan Lammers , Shane Lewis , Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Martin Brundle , Christophe Tinseau , Oliver Gavin , Max Angelelli , Luca Drudi , Jean-Luc Chereau , Kazuyuki Nishizawa , Fabio Babini , Olivier Beretta , Alex Job , Yogo Atsushi , Cort Wagner
Teams Alex Job Racing