Porsche Mid-Ohio: Saturday report

BERNHARD, HENZLER, IMERY DRIVE PORSCHES TO POLE POSITIONS AT MID-OHIO --The American Le Mans Series GT2 class defending titleholder Timo Bernhard has grabbed the pole Sunday's ALMS event at Mid-Ohio, setting a qualifying lap record in his Alex...


--The American Le Mans Series GT2 class defending titleholder Timo Bernhard has grabbed the pole Sunday's ALMS event at Mid-Ohio, setting a qualifying lap record in his Alex Job Racing mail2web/Hyatt Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. In the SPEED World Challenge, Wolf Henzler will start his Applied Materials Farnbacher-Loles Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car from the pole position for the late Saturday afternoon event, while Ricardo Emery has the pole for the Sunday's IMSA GT3 Cup event in his Farnbacher-Loles Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. The ALMS race will be broadcast live on CBS-TV on May 22 at 1:00 PM EDT.-

LEXINGTON, Ohio - May 21 - Timo Bernhard, from Dittweiler, Germany, set a GT2 class qualifying record on the way to his pole-sitting performance for tomorrow's American Le Mans Series event at Mid-Ohio.

Bernhard, who is trying to improve his standing in the ALMS points chase after a DNF at Sebring, will be joined by Frenchman Romain Dumas in the #23 Alex Job Porsche. When asked why he and the rest of the ALMS class pole winners all set track records, Timo said it was evolution rather than revolution.

"I can only speak for Alex Job Racing, but we tested over the winter, and made changes in small steps to all areas of the car. Also, Michelin developed an improved tire for this year which helped our performance," he said.

"But we cannot rest on this good fortune, as Patrick Long's Porsche is only one- tenth of a second behind us, and he is 23 points ahead of us in the standings, so we have lots of work to do," said Bernhard.

Long, from Las Vegas, NV, put the Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Porsche aside Bernhard on the front row despite the absence of his co-driver, Jorg Bergmeister, who was competing at a Rolex Grand-Am event in Canada on Saturday.

"I've been working with the team to set up the car - it's fun being the number one guy; I've learned a lot from Jorg, and have been able to use it this weekend to help the Petersen crew get dialed in," said Long. Bergmeister will join the team Sunday for the race.

The two Panoz Esperante entries are third and fourth on the grid, with the #24 Alex Job Racing Porsche, driven by Randy Pobst and Ian Baas, is fifth. The two Flying Lizard Porsches are sixth (Pechnik/Neiman) and seventh (van Overbeek/Fogarty), while the J3 Racing Porsche of Tim Sugden/Justin Jackson is eighth. The BAM! Porsche will start at the back of the pack after Tony Burgess hit the wall during morning practice and damaged the suspension, causing the team to miss qualifying and forcing the car, to be co- driven by Mike Rockenfeller, to the back of the pack for tomorrow's event.


In the Speed World Challenge qualifying, Wolf Henzler, from Nurtingen, Germany, wasted little time in Saturday morning's SCCA Pro Racing SPEED GT qualifying session, posting a qualifying record time of 1:26.820 (93.628 mph) to take the pole for the race, which will take place late Saturday afternoon. The pole means Henzler, in the No. 55 Applied Materials/Farnbacher Loles Porsche 911 Cup racer, will start from the top position for the third time in four events this season. John Heinricy led a trio of Cadillac CTS-Vs and will start second.

"This is the first time for me at this track and I like it very much," Henzler said. "There are a lot of turns that go left, right, left, right, and I think that is very good for our car. Plus, we don't have any additional [REWARDS] weight in the car after I lost it at Road Atlanta. I think that is a big advantage for me as well."

Henzler's record time, which broke Michael Galati's 2004 mark of 1:27.956, came just minutes after the 20-minutes session began. He backed it up with a 1:26.841 about 10 minutes later.

Robin Liddell, from Edinburgh, Scotland, who came within two laps of winning the last event at Road Atlanta, qualified eighth in his AXA Financial Jon Groom Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, while Groom was 16th in the second team Porsche.

For the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge event, which will be run Sunday afternoon after the ALMS event, Ricardo Imery, a Venezuelan who commutes between Caracas and Miami, has captured the pole in his Farnbacher-Loles Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. Imery, who finished second at the inaugural event at Road Atlanta last month, has a chance to take the points lead as Atlanta winner Brent Martini is not at Mid-Ohio. Farnbacher-Loles teammate Lawson Aschenbach, from Gaitherburg, MD, is second on the grid in his Porsche, while Vici Racing's Tony Massari, from Tampa, FL, is third in his Porsche.

Where to Watch and Listen

The American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio event will be televised live by CBS starting at 1:00 PM Eastern Daylight time (the race starts at noon, with CBS joining at 1:00 PM and filling in with the first hour highlights) on Sunday, May 22.

The official Porsche media web site - www.press.porsche.com - will have qualifying information for the Mid-Ohio event for the Porsches entered, and will post stories and photos during and after the race. Porsche media web site users enter the word "carrera" for both user name and password, then choose "motorsports news" and "ALMS" to find the Sebring updates. The same information is posted for consumers on Porsche's main site www.porsche.com/motorsport (click on Porsche Motorsports North America and "race reports").

The official race notes and results for all the classes at the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio can be found on the official site for the American Le Mans Series (www.americanlemans.com), where fans can follow the qualifying sessions and the race with live timing and scoring on-line as well as American Le Mans Radio Web, a live radio broadcast of all qualifying sessions as well as the entire 2 hour, 45-minute event.

Other Web sites that will follow the Sportsbook.com Grand Prix of Atlanta include Daily Sports Car (www.dailysportscar.com), The Race Site (www.theracesite.com), the Speed Channel site (www.speedTV.com), Sports Car Pros (sportscarpros.com), Motorsport.com (www.motorsport.com) , AutoSport magazine's site (www.autosport.com), AutoRacingDaily.com (www.autoracingdaily.com), Motorsport-news.com (www.motorsport- news.com), Crash.net (www.crash.net), racinglines.com (www.racinglines.com), EnduranceSportsCar.com (www.endurancesportscar.com), pitstop.com (www.pitstop.com); and Speed Arena (www.speedarena.com).

For the SCCA SPEED World Challenge, official information can be found on www.world-challenge.com, where fans can follow the qualifying and racing action with live scoring on-line, and the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge information is on www.imsaracing.net, including live scoring.


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About this article
Series ALMS , IMSA Others , PWC
Drivers Robin Liddell , John Heinricy , Randy Pobst , Tony Burgess , Jörg Bergmeister , Timo Bernhard , Michael Galati , Patrick Long , Brent Martini , Romain Dumas , Justin Jackson , Ricardo Imery , Jon Groom , Ian Baas , Mike Rockenfeller , Wolf Henzler , Alex Job
Teams Alex Job Racing