LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Three-time Le Mans winner Frank Biela captured his second American Le Mans Series pole of the season this afternoon under picture perfect mid-summer conditions at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. "We had a great weekend at Le ...
LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Three-time Le Mans winner Frank Biela captured his second American Le Mans Series pole of the season this afternoon under picture perfect mid-summer conditions at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. "We had a great weekend at Le Mans," Biela explained. "It was a great race two weeks ago, but that's history. We are here to win the race. We found a good setup, the car ran well, and felt good on full tanks this morning. This is the same car we ran at the Le Mans race, but with different settings."
David Brabham, last year's Mid-Ohio winner, will line up right behind Biela in the No. 50 Panoz. "I am certainly happy with the way qualifying turned out," said Brabham. "I probably could have gone a little bit quicker, but I had a really hard time trying to get a clear lap in traffic. The one time I did get a clear lap, I actually hit the outside curb coming out of Turn 1 and lost a little bit of time. I doubt I could have matched Biela's time, but we are certainly well placed to challenge strongly tomorrow."
Brabham's teammate, former CART pilot Bryan Herta, will line up third in the No. 51 Panoz. "The team has worked really hard on improving the car and I think we have quite a good balance for the race tomorrow," Herta remarked. "Audi are always hard to beat, but we have to continue to put the pressure on them and see what happens."
Surprisingly, the No. 38 Champion Audi set the fourth fastest time of the session, ahead of the second factory Audi of Dindo Capello.
Jon Field qualified first in LMP 675 and sixth overall in the No. 37 Lola EX257 AER MG. "We busted the starternator [combination of starter and alternator developed by Lola] yesterday," stated Field. "The crew was able to rebuild it back at the shop last night, but we ordered a new one from Lola in England. We called over and we have a guy flying back over with it tomorrow morning."
Starter/alternator issues aside, Field qualified almost six second faster than the next quickest LMP 675 entry, the No. 56 Pilbeam Nissan of Jeff Bucknum. "We're please with second today," replied Bucknum. "We've had a lot of motor problems in the first two races and those are solved. If a couple of things happen tomorrow, we think we have a good shot at winning." The No. 11 Knighthawk Lola will start third in LMP 675.
The No. 16 Dyson Racing Rile & Scott, the No. 18 Mugen-powered Panoz, the No. 30 Lola B2K/10 Judd, and the No. 3 Corvette rounded out the top-10.
"We're on a roll," exclaimed Ron Fellows after setting the pace in the GTS class. "The Corvette team . . . hasn't functioned any better than it has now. This is only our second race with the new cars. We're eight tenths faster than we were last year with the old cars."
The No. 4 Corvette of Andy Pilgrim was second in GTS, followed closely by the No. 0 Ferrari 550 of Domenico Schiattarella. "It just doesn't get any closer," Pilgrim admitted. "I'm one tenth behind Ron, [and] the Olive Garden [Ferrari] is five tenths behind me."
"It's only a matter of time before the [Ferrari] will end up as quick [as we are]," Fellows added.
Sascha Maassen grabbed the GT class pole in the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche GT3RS. "Two laps was not the qualifying plan," Maassen explained. "I [made] a mistake, but it was a good one. We have the same engine size, but last year we tried to beat the BMWs, but we're not taking any risks this year." The No. 31 Petersen Motorsports Porsche GT3RS and the No. 22 Alex Job Porsche GT3RS qualified second and third, respectively.
Based on the performance of the Panoz squad, the conditions look ripe for another Audi upset tomorrow.