DÃ‰JÃ€ VU: CLASS POLE WINNERS REPEAT AT PORTLAND GRAND PRIX Portland - Four familiar faces won class poles at the Portland Grand Prix on Friday as track qualifying records continued to fall in the 2005 American Le Mans Series. When all was said...
DÉJÀ VU: CLASS POLE WINNERS REPEAT AT PORTLAND GRAND PRIX
Portland - Four familiar faces won class poles at the Portland Grand Prix on Friday as track qualifying records continued to fall in the 2005 American Le Mans Series. When all was said and done, Andy Wallace netted his second consecutive pole of the season, and all four class pole-winners were repeats from last year.
Wallace posted a fast lap of 1:02.712, about 1.5 seconds faster than the previous track mark set by David Brabham in 2001. Wallace also won the pole at Portland last year in the No. 20 Dyson Racing Lola, which he will share Saturday with Chris Dyson. Wallace also was on the pole two weeks ago at Infineon Raceway.
The No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola of Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver will start second, giving Dyson Racing its second front-row sweep, the last coming at Infineon on 2003, when the team fielded a pair of LMP675s.
Champion Racing's two Audi R8s will start on the second row. Marco Werner and JJ Lehto qualified third in the No. 1 Audi, followed by the No. 2 entry of Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro.
In LMP2, Clint Field put the No. 37 Intersport Racing Lola on the pole for the second straight race. He'll drive in Saturday's two-hour, 45-minute event with Gregor Fisken. Field beat out Jeff Bucknum of the No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage on his second-to-last lap with a 1:05.744.
Olivier Beretta, in the No. 4 Corvette Racing C6-R, took back sole possession of the ALMS' all-time record for career poles with his 16th, a 1:08.193 effort. It shattered his mark set last year by almost two seconds. It was his second this year, the first coming at Lime Rock Park earlier this month.
Beretta will share driving duties Saturday with Oliver Gavin. The two won at Lime Rock and this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans.
"It's very important for us to win because we're 11 points back (in the championship standings)," Beretta said. "If we win, we'll be 7 points behind (assuming the No. 3 finishes second). The important thing is that a Corvette wins. We need to win, but the important this is that a Corvette wins. If you look back last year, we have been leading every race. Sometimes we have bad luck under yellow. The No. 4 car has been quick since last year and has won Le Mans twice. So it's been good."
Behind Beretta by 0.178 was the No. 3 sister car of Johnny O'Connell, who will team with Ron Fellows. The two are class leaders in points and have won three times this year. Third fastest in class was the No. 63 ACEMCO Motorsports Saleen S7R of Johnny Mowlem and Terry Borcheller. Actually, all six cars in class went under Beretta's fast lap last year of 1:09.981.
In GT2, the top four cars in class broke last year's record, headed by Romain Dumas in the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche at 1:12.653. He and Timo Bernhard are going for their fourth straight class win. Dumas was part of the winning GT2 duo last year with Marc Lieb.
"It's all the time a big fight between our car and the No. 31 car. Our times are really close. My lap was nothing special. I'm sure it will be a good fight," Dumas said. "The grip is not as good compared to Sears Point. With the new chicane, it's strange because you can have grip on the asphalt and then lose it on the concrete."
The Portland Grand Prix is set for 8 to 11 p.m. EDT Saturday on SPEED Channel, the first time an ALMS race has been broadcast in prime time. American Le Mans Radio and Live Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.