The #66 New Century Mortgage/Monster Cable Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Patrick Long qualified 4th fastest for the New England Grand Prix today, just five thousandths of a second behind the third place car. The GT qualifying today was extremely competitive - Long's differential of .065 seconds with the second-placed car translates into just 9.6 feet over the course of the track. The #66 car has been very quick all weekend, and was second fastest in this morning's practice session.
Long said, "I'm very happy with the qualifying session -- the best part for us is that we set up the car in race trim rather than focus on qualifying, so our time is very satisfying. The second, third and fourth qualifying spots all ran within one-tenth of a second of each other, so it shows you how closely matched we all are. I like the track a lot, and I'm feeling on top of my game, so I'm looking forward to the race. If you remember the Mid-Ohio race last weekend, the eventual winners started the race from fourth spot, so I'd say we've got a very good chance on Monday."
Pierre Ehret, driving the #67 Flamingo Resort/TRG Porsche, had a stirring drive in last weekend's race in Mid-Ohio, qualifying 9th in the GT class today. Ehret's co-driver Jim Matthews will start the race on Monday. Pierre said, "We have a good race car -- great handling. We were setting decent times on old tires this morning, but we decided to cut short the session this morning because you don't win anything by going quickest in practice, and there's no room for error at this track. It's an interesting track, but there's absolutely no safe haven here -- if you go off, you can eat it big time."
Team owner Kevin Buckler was succinct in his comments. "The car's damn good," he said. "Patrick did a great job qualifying -- having the top four cars this close on the timesheets is amazing. I'll tell you one thing: we've got a great car for the race. Watch out."
Sunday is an off-day for the ALMS at Lime Rock, as local noise ordinances mandate Sundays are quiet at the track. Team TRG will work part of the day to do final preparations for Monday's race, though there are rumors of inter-ALMS team football matches, fishing trips and golf outings swirling around the paddock. The team and driver Cort Wagner will use the holiday to recuperate from a very busy week of racing; TRG raced last Sunday at Mid-Ohio, Thursday night at Daytona, and flew directly to Lime Rock Friday morning for initial practice in Connecticut.
Speed Channel will broadcast the New England Grand Prix live on Monday, July 5th at 3pm ET.