Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Takes Lime Rock Pole with Quick Practice Time Rain Cancels Qualifying, Enge and Turner Lead GT2 Practice in Wet and Dry LAKEVILLE, Conn., July 6, 2007 - Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing...
Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Takes Lime Rock Pole with Quick Practice Time
Rain Cancels Qualifying, Enge and Turner Lead GT2 Practice in Wet and Dry
LAKEVILLE, Conn., July 6, 2007 - Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing earned its third GT2 class pole position of the season at Lime Rock Park today. The No. 31 MMPIE/PAWS/Petersen Holdings/Michelin Ferrari F430 GT will start 16th overall in tomorrow's American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix, a race in which they are defending class winners, by virtue of a quick lap in this morning's first practice of the day. The Michael Petersen (Las Vegas, Nev.) owned team earned the pole position, its fifth front-row starting effort of the six event-old season, when rain canceled qualifying leaving today's only all-dry session to set the grid for the two hour and 45-minute event. Tomas Enge (a native of the Czech Republic now living in Monaco) lapped the 1.54-mile, eight-turn facility in a track record-bettering time of 52.431 seconds. While not official because it was set in practice, not qualifying, the time shattered the standing class record of 53.322 seconds set last year by a Ferrari F430 GT. Darren Turner (Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England) also bettered the lap in his best dry time of 53.192 seconds. Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing set the fast time in each of the timed sessions of the day.
Rain plagued the afternoon here in Connecticut first canceling qualifying and then falling mid-way through the second and final practice of the day. Enge did not run in the second practice, the team opting to have Turner do the bulk of the wet-weather work. Turner, who will start the race tomorrow before handing the No. 31 over to Enge for the finish, set the quickest full- wet time in the class at just over one minute. As the track dried the team switched to dry-weather Michelin tires (racing slicks), Turner set the quickest dry time of the second session as well at 54.481 seconds. Rain began to fall again at the end of the practice bringing the quick times to a close. Tomorrow's event marks the seventh time the Dale White (Bozeman, MT) managed team has started from the first position in the American Le Mans Series and the second time it has held the honor here at Lime Rock (the team also won the pole here in 2005).
Dale White, Team Manager/Entrant: "We are very happy with the setup on the Ferrari. The car has been quick in the dry and the rain so we feel comfortable with what tomorrow might bring. Of course we would have liked to set the fastest lap in qualifying, not practice, but Tomas and Darren have been quick in every session so I am confident the result would have been the same. Lime Rock is a very tough track and the race can be very physical. You have to be ready for almost everything and prepare for anything you can think of. Being fast here is no guarantee that you will be on the podium."
Tomas Enge, Driver: "It seems like our day started and ended in the same way as in Salt Lake City. This gives us a great feeling for tomorrow. The car is setup great for the race, we know this track is very tricky and slippery and is going to be all about not making any mistakes, not making any contact with other cars and having a good strategy. Then we can think about repeating with Darren the same as in Salt Lake City."
Darren Turner, Driver: "It's great to be back with the Petersen/White Lightning team. I really enjoyed my time with them at Salt Lake, which seems a long time ago as I have had two touring car meetings and, obviously Le Mans with Aston Martin. We're back at Lime Rock and I had forgotten how difficult this little circuit is. Practice has gone well so far. With the bad rain that came just before final practice and qualifying Tomas' time from this morning meant we are going to start the race from pole. With the last session being wet to start with we got a reasonable balance in the very wet conditions and it was nice to get a few more laps at the end in the dry conditions. The most interesting thing is that the concrete, which is at the apex of several turns, in the wet is where the grip is and in the dry it is where there is a lack of grip. This time I am going to start the race and I am looking forward to it."
The American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix will take the green flag at 3:05 pm (ET) on Saturday, July 7. Television coverage will be provided by CBS Sports, July 8 at 1 pm (ET). The event can be heard live on the American Le Mans Series Radio Web, available through the American Le Mans Series web site from 3 - 6 PM (ET).