GRAF PUTS PORSCHE RS SPYDER ON ALMS MOSPORT POLE; PORSCHE, FERRARI, BMW, CORVETTE HALF-SECOND APART IN GT QUALIFYING; MILLER EARNS FIRST POSITION GTC BOWMANVILLE, Ont., Canada - August 28 - Klaus Graf (Germany), former SCCA Trans-Am Champion, ...
GRAF PUTS PORSCHE RS SPYDER ON ALMS MOSPORT POLE; PORSCHE, FERRARI, BMW, CORVETTE HALF-SECOND APART IN GT QUALIFYING; MILLER EARNS FIRST POSITION GTC
BOWMANVILLE, Ont., Canada - August 28 - Klaus Graf (Germany), former SCCA Trans-Am Champion, Panoz LMP factory driver, NASCAR Cup pilot, and ALMS Porsche winner in both LMP and GT, has added another jewel to his crown - an overall pole position for tomorrow's Mobil 1 Presents the Grand Prix of Mosport.
Graf, who, along with Porsche factory driver Timo Bernhard (Germany), came within 200 yards of winning last week's ALMS race at Road America in the Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder, is teaming this weekend with factory driver Romain Dumas (France) - both replacing car owner and regular co-driver Greg Pickett (USA), who is recovering from injuries suffered from a crash earlier in the month at Mid-Ohio.
"Having Dumas - this year's Le Mans 24 winner and an overall winner here in 2007 in an Porsche RS Spyder - on our Muscle Milk team has already given us an advantage for the weekend. Romain helped us set up the car, and he and I together were the fastest overall in every session. Our team has recovered remarkably from our crash at Mid-Ohio, and then a very disappointing second-place finish at Road America, where we were passed 200 yard from the finish after running short of fuel," said Graf.
Graf is 20 points behind the Brabham/Pagenaud Honda Performance LMP car drivers with 50 points still up for grabs for the championship. The team has two class wins this season - at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut (an overall win) and the 12 Hours of Sebring (LMP2 victory) - plus three second-place finishes, but this was the team's first ALMS pole.
In ALMS GT, Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) qualified the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR that he will share with Patrick Long (USA) second fastest in ALMS' most competitive class, and he was very happy with that, but he was even happier to be starting in the first spot as the pole-winning Bruni Ferrari was forced to the back of the pack due to a last-minute driver change. Regular Ferrari driver Jamie Melo has a stomach virus and will be replaced by Finland's Toni Vilander.
"We were quite pleased with the performance of our Porsche today, with the set-up and our Michelins working well for a good qualifying lap - better than we expected. I tried one more lap after my fastest lap, but it was clear we weren't going any faster, so I came in. Our second position became first with the Ferrari situation, so we couldn't ask for a better place to start," said Bergmeister, who, along with Long, lead the GT class over the Bruni/Melo duo by 18 points.
BMW, Corvette, and another Ferrari were right behind the Lizard Porsche. Porsche trails BMW by six points in the manufacturers championship chase.
In GT Challenge for matched Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars, Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen's string of five straight pole positions for his Black Swan Racing team was broken, but only by one-tenth of a second. Bryce Miller (USA), driving the Orbit/Paul Miller Racing Marquis Jet Porsche, earned his first ALMS pole by edging Bleekemolen on his seventh of eight qualifying laps. Miller, who will race with England's Luke Hines, said the team deserved the pole.
"We have worked so hard, and been the fastest GTC car at several of the recent events, yet bad luck on the track has done us in. When we had to change motors earlier in the weekend, I thought we were finished, but the guys from Orbit/Paul Miller Racing did a great job, and this pole position is for all of them," said Miller, who has one ALMS GT win to his credit.
-source: porsche motorsports