Long Beach: VICI Racing qualifying report

T-MOBILE® VICI RACING LONG BEACH QUALIFYING REPORT Long Beach, Calif. - On the hot and sunny streets of Long Beach this afternoon Richard Westbrook qualified the ...


Long Beach, Calif. - On the hot and sunny streets of Long Beach this afternoon Richard Westbrook qualified the #18 T-Mobile® VICI Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR on the third row of the grid for tomorrow' American Le Mans Series race. The Englishman's best lap of 1:21.805 left the team in a solid position for the race and came despite fuel pressure issues and a stop-and- go penalty that added up to compromise the 25 minute qualifying session.

Today's action got underway much earlier this morning with 45 minutes of free practice. By the time the session kicked off at 9:00 AM the circuit was basking under a clear blue sky and quickly rising temperatures. Set alongside the glittering Pacific Ocean, bookended by towering apartment blocks, and with the Queen Mary cruise liner thrown into the background, this race is often referred to as the Monte Carlo Grand Prix of North America. With the #18 car having undergone setup changes last night to prepare it for the event's second day on the 1.968 mile temporary road course, Richard kicked off in the warm up session as soon as the lights went to green, and his best lap before handing the car over to Johannes was a 1:22.478 (85.899 mph) set on the 12th lap that he ran. Both drivers were keen to use the available time to learn the intricacies of the track further and at the point that the checkered flag came out on the session the pair had completed 20 laps between them.

Six hours after the flag fell on the morning practice session, T-Mobile® VICI Racing were back in the confines of the temporary pitlane for the brief qualifying session that would decide the grid for tomorrow's race. Richard was entrusted with driving duties and the 2007 Porsche Supercup Champion immediately posted a 1:23.402 on his first flying lap, followed by a 1:22.234, before the Panoz brought out the red flags. After 9 minutes the track went green again, but a an infringement saw the #18 car dashing back through the pitlane which compromised the qualifying strategy. Richard then turned in a 1:23.299, but by this point fuel pressure issues were rearing their head. In on 18 mins and out a minute later, he then posted three more flying laps, a 1:22.157, a 1:21.805 and finally a 1:21.944. The penultimate flying lap in 1:21.805 (86.606 mph) was set on lap 10 of twelve and it puts the #18 car onto the third row on the grid.

VICI Racing is a long time established German/US racing team which is setting out this week on its second year in the prestigious series. T-Mobile USA is a leading innovator and provider of mobile communications. At the end of 2008, T-Mobile USA served more than 32.8 million customers. T- Mobile USA is the U.S. operation of Deutsche Telekom AG's Mobile Communications Business, and a wholly owned subsidiary of T-Mobile International, one of the world's leading companies in mobile communications. T-Mobile is a federally registered trademark of Deutsche Telekom AG. Michelin is a technical partner of the team.

Race day tomorrow (Saturday April 18) will kick off early with a short warm- up session (7:30 to 7:45 AM PT) before the American Le Mans Series at Long Beach Race, round 3 of the 2009 series, goes to green flag at 4:15 PM PT. The checkered flag is scheduled to be waved on the 1 hour and 30 minute race at 5:45 PM PT. The race will be televised from 12:30 to 2:30 PM ET on Sunday, April 19 on ABC. American Le Mans Radio and Live Timing and Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com. The race also will be aired on XM Channel 242 and Sirius Channel 126 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM ET on Saturday. The race also will mark the next round for the MICHELIN® Green X® Challenge.

Roland Wall, Technical Director VICI Racing: "We made some changes to the car overnight that have been an improvement and we have a good setup now for the race and our car is working well with the new Michelin tires. Qualifying didn't work out as we had expected as we got a stop-go on what would have been our optimum lap and then we had some problems with the fuel pressure. Both drivers have got used to the track quickly and so I'm satisfied they can do a good job in the race. Anyway we're well positioned on the grid and we now have to prepare for the race and make sure we have the best strategy."

Richard Westbrook (England) #18: "We have been working well this week, the car feels much improved today and is handling really well over the bumps. The team have done a great job and we are in good shape, Joe is quick so we have a good line up I think. Unfortunately we couldn't show our real pace in qualifying as we got a penalty and then we had a problem with the fuel, but I'm confident for tomorrow and looking forward to a good race tomorrow and my first race here."

Johannes Stuck (Austria) #18: "Today was my second time in the car here and I felt more comfortable in the car today as it was feeling better than yesterday and that allowed me to go much faster and be onto a good race pace. The track is quite short so it's straightforward to learn, you have get use to where all the bumps are and changes of surface, but there is more rubber coming down now so the surface is getting better. I think I'm ready for a good race now and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

-credit: vici

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Richard Westbrook , Johannes Stuck