Timo Bernhard Shatters Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca GT Qualifying Record in ...
Timo Bernhard Shatters Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca GT Qualifying Record in #23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for ALMS Finale
--Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR driver Timo Bernhard has taken the first step towards clinching his first American Le Mans Series GT drivers title as he broke Sascha Maassen's qualifying record by a half a second en route to the GT pole position for tomorrow's Audi Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca -
MONTEREY, California - October 15, 2004 - German Porsche driver Timo Bernhard has not scored any points yet this weekend, but his championship chase is headed in the right direction as he broke the track qualifying record in the #23 Alex Job Racing McKenna mail2web.com Porsche 911 GT3 RSR on his way to the GT pole for tomorrow's ALMS Audi Sports Car Championships at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway.
Bernhard, who has a 15-point lead in the championship and needs a sixth place finish or better with co-driver Jorg Bergmeister, is grateful for the pole position, but realizes he has not really accomplished anything yet.
"It will be business as usual for the race," said Bernhard, who is competing for the title outright as co-driver Bergmeister missed the ALMS opener at Sebring due to illness.
"We will compete for the best finish we can without taking any chances. During qualifying, we usually wait for a clear spot before entering the track, but it seemed that others were waiting this time, so we went out early and got a good lap," he said.
The American Le Mans Series event starts Saturday, October 16, at 4:00 PM Pacific time, and runs for four hours. The race will be telecast on a delayed basis on NBC-TV the next day, Sunday, October 17, at 2:00 PM Eastern.
Bernhard has a 15-point lead over the Flying Lizard Porsche team of Darren Law/Johannes van Overbeek going into this last event, with 23 points going to the winner. If the
Bernhard/Bergmeister finishes in the top six, Timo wins the GT drivers championship no matter where anyone else finishes (a sixth-place finish would guarantee a tie in points, but Timo wins the tie-breaker based on more wins). If Timo and Jorg finish seventh through tenth, van Overbeek/Darren Law could win the championship by finishing first in the event (tenth for Timo would result in a tie if the Lizards finished second, but Timo would win the tie-breaker). If Timo and Jorg do not finish in the top ten and score no points, then Johannes and Darren can win the title by finishing in any of the top three positions.
The other Alex Job car, the #24 Porsche driven by Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb, qualified second in GT with Lieb at the wheel, while Darren Law qualified the Flying Lizard Porsche third. Fourth was the Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RSR with drivers Craig Stanton (who qualified the car) and David Murry, while ALMS defending GT co-champion Lucas Luhr, who will be co-driving with the other defending c-champion Sascha Maassen and Leo Hindery in BAM! YES Network Porsche, was fifth.
Although his team is 15 points down for the championship, Darren Law's Flying Lizard Motorsports team has redoubled their efforts to overtake the Alex Job Porsche.
"It's been several years since I've driven this track - I had forgotten how nice it is to drive. The team did a great job prepping the car for qualifying and it showed. The GT class is highly competitive and we're all very close in our track times. I'm looking forward to driving the track at night. We still have a shot at the championship but it will require a flawless race. We need to stay out of trouble and finish strong in our last race of the season," said Law.
The Audi Sports Car Championships will be televised on a delayed basis on NBC-TV starting at 2:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time on Sunday, October 17. The live radio broadcast (on www.americanlemans.com) will be aired on Saturday, October 16, at 7:00 PM Eastern and will last four hours.