RAIN WASHES OUT LIME ROCK QUALIFYING FRIDAY; GRAND PRIX LINEUP IS SET BY PRACTICE SPEEDS Porsches To Start 1-2 Saturday Followed by Highcroft, AGR Acuras LAKEVILLE, CT -- The lightning-fast American Le Mans Series sports car field was...
RAIN WASHES OUT LIME ROCK QUALIFYING FRIDAY;
GRAND PRIX LINEUP IS SET BY PRACTICE SPEEDS
Porsches To Start 1-2 Saturday Followed by Highcroft, AGR Acuras
LAKEVILLE, CT -- The lightning-fast American Le Mans Series sports car field was slowed to a crawl Friday afternoon when heavy rain cancelled the scheduled qualifying session for all four classes at the famed 1.54-mile Lime Rock Park, the sixth stop on the ALMS 12-race campaign.
The one-hour morning practice, which saw five prototype sports cars better the 120 mile-per-hour average, determined the starting grid for Saturday's Northeast Grand Prix, set for a 3:05 p.m. start on the eight-turn road circuit in Northwest Connecticut, celebrating its 50th year.
The Porsches of Romain Dumas and Chris Dyson posted the top speeds with single-lap clockings of 124.141 m.p.h. and 122.720 m.p.h., respectively, and they will start on the front row Saturday.
The Acura ARX-01a machines of David Brabham and Bryan Herta recorded the third-and fourth-best speeds Friday morning, at 121.051 and 120.971 m.p.h. The No. 9 Highcroft Acura ARX-01a and the No. 26 XM Satellite Radio Acura ARX-01a will begin Saturday's two-hour, 45-minute race from the second row.
Third-row starters will be the Porsche of Ryan Briscoe and the No. 15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura Lola of Adrian Fernandez, after one-lap speeds of 120.927 and 119.878 m.p.h. on Friday morning.
The 26-car field was able to get in a short practice session on the damp Lime Rock track Friday afternoon after the lineup was set. A 25-minute warm-up is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. Saturday.
Saturday's American Le Mans Series race will be telecast Sunday at 1 p.m. (EDT) on CBS-TV.
DAVID BRABHAM (#9 Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-01a): "The track wasn't as fast on Friday as it was on Tuesday when we tested here. The rain storm on Thursday night washed off the rubber on the track surface. Now we'll have a similar situation on Saturday. Luckily, we will have other races earlier in the day to help get the track surface in better shape for our race. The Highcroft team has done a great job preparing for the second half of the season. I thought we might have a shot at the Porsche in qualifying today but then the rain came. I expect a pretty wild race on Saturday. Lime Rock is very fast and tight, and traffic will be a problem for the prototypes. There might be a lot of pushing and shoving going on during the race."
BRYAN HERTA (#26 XM Satellite Radio AGR Acura ARX-01a): "We didn't get all of the track we wanted today. But we were pretty quick out of the box this morning. I think we have a good car for the race. Of course, I would like to be on the front row but we can be very competitive from our starting spot. Marino [Franchitti] has proven to be a great starter this year so I feel confident we'll be running near the front early in the race. The traffic will be a real factor Saturday. This place is very tight and very fast so the closing speeds will be a problem for the prototypes. But it is a pretty long race at two hours and 45 minutes. I expect a lot of action throughout the race."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura Lola 06/40) "The track makes it very challenging to set up the car, especially the teams that haven't been here before. We tested on Tuesday with Luis [Diaz] and the we able to improve the car a lot since then. When I jumped in the car this morning, it was the first time here and the pace was better. We were not too far behind and I thought we could improve the car for qualifying. Unfortunately, we didn't get the chance with the rain. With the four classes, the race will be very tricky and it should be an interesting race where you have to be patient."
-credit: acura motorsports