Petersen/White Lightning Third-Fastest in Dry Practice Ernesto Sweeps Into Mosport for Qualifying, Drenches Afternoon Action BOWMANVILLE, Ont., September 2, 2006 -- The remnants of Hurricane Ernesto made its way into Canada today bringing a...
Petersen/White Lightning Third-Fastest in Dry Practice
Ernesto Sweeps Into Mosport for Qualifying, Drenches Afternoon Action
BOWMANVILLE, Ont., September 2, 2006 -- The remnants of Hurricane Ernesto made its way into Canada today bringing a steady rain that drenched all afternoon sessions here at Mosport International Raceway. American Le Mans Series officials opted to cancel the timed qualifying session in favor of a 40 minute open session. By canceling qualifying, the grid for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Mosport will be set on the practice laps of the two earlier sessions. Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing, last year's GT2 class winner of the event, would have started third. Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) turned the third quickest lap (one minute, 18.768 seconds) but because co-driver Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) had a conflicting event and was not able to practice, the No. 31 MMPIE/PAWS/Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR will start at the back of the GT2 class grid. This was the sixth time in eight events this season that the 2005 American Le Mans Series GT2 class champions would have started from a top-three spot in the class. The team again was the quickest Porsche in the field.
The Michael Petersen-owned team was one of the few that chose to take part in the rainy, open practice. With the potential for more rain throughout tomorrow's two hour and 45 minute sports car race, team manager Dale White (Bozeman, MT) made the call to fine-tune the rain setup. In cool temperatures and wet conditions, Long lapped at 1:37.707, the fourth quickest GT2 time in the final session. A last minute change to the car made a significant difference to the car's performance that, due to the practice ending, was not represented in the final lap times.
Due to the multiple scheduling conflicts this weekend, four different drivers will have been behind the wheel of the No. 31 at the 2.459-mile, 10-turn track when it takes the checkered flag tomorrow. Michael Petersen (Las Vegas) and endurance-race team driver Tim Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany), Jorg's older brother, have also run the car to help prepare for the eighth-round of the ten-race season. Jorg Bergmeister will arrive at the track by the Sunday morning final warm-up. Long arrived this morning.
Dale White, Team Manager/Entrant: "We feel very comfortable with the dry setup that we have from our test here earlier in the week. The test time was right where we wanted to be. With the forecast for more rain tomorrow, we felt like it was important to get the wet setup right as well. With the last change we made, Patrick said we had it. Despite starting from the back of the grid, we are confident that we can work our way up to the front. For sure it won't be easy, but we have a quick car in the wet or the dry."
The Grand Prix of Mosport will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel starting at 3 PM (ET) Sunday. Live timing and scoring and the American Le Mans Radio Web broadcast can be found at www.AmericanLeMans.com.