Petersen/ White Lightning Misses GT2 Pole by 25 Thousandths ELKHART LAKE, Wis., August 20, 2005 -- Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) ran the quickest lap of the weekend (two minutes, 8.487 seconds) for the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/...
Petersen/ White Lightning Misses GT2 Pole by 25 Thousandths
ELKHART LAKE, Wis., August 20, 2005 -- Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) ran the quickest lap of the weekend (two minutes, 8.487 seconds) for the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in today's qualifying for tomorrow's Generac 500 at Road America. However, the inspired lap fell a agonizing .029 seconds behind the pole winning effort. Bergmeister and teammate Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) will have to start second for the fifth time this season. It is the Michael Petersen-owned effort's seventh time in seven races to start on the GT2 class front row for an American Le Mans Series (ALMS) event. They sat on the pole at both the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the New England Grand Prix.
Bergmeister and Long were the quickest in each of the test/ practice sessions leading-up to the 20-minute qualifying session for tomorrow's two hour and 45-minute feature event. Bergmeister continues to hold the track record for the 4.048-mile facility having set it in 2004. It is the second time this season that the team, which currently sits just six points out of the championship points lead in GT2, has missed the pole by less than a hundredth of a second. The first was a .098 seconds off the fastest lap turned at Mid-Ohio.
Road America holds a tradition of winning for the Las Vegas-based race team. The Dale White-managed Porsche program won its first ALMS class event here on the 12-turn track in 2003. They finished second, capturing the IMSA Cup, in 2004. Prior to that, they won their first Trans-Am Series event on the Wisconsin track in 1998. Individually, besides being the track record holder in the GT2 class, Bergmeister won here last year and in 2002.
A final warm-up will take place Sunday morning at 8 AM. The Generac 500 at Road America can be seen live on SPEED on Sunday at 3 PM (EDT). Live timing can be viewed at www.AmericanLeMans.com.
Jorg Bergmeister, driver: "The car was really hooked-up. We were the quickest in all the sessions before. In qualifying I had traffic in the first two laps. In the third lap the tires started dropping off. When I saw the 8.4 [2:08.487] on the dash I thought maybe it was enough. But, unfortunately, it wasn't. It was probably one of the closest qualifyings in GT2 ever. It will be fun tomorrow. I think we should have a really good car for the race. After the tough luck we've had the last two races I hope we can have a clear run tomorrow. If we do I think we can win."
Patrick Long, driver: "With the new ECU [Electronic Control Unit] the car is shifting a lot better and the straight-line speed is up. Everything is promising. The plan has always been to win races but I think there is a little more risk to take now as we have to claw back to the points lead. I like Road America. I think this track fits my driving style. There is plenty of room to have all the classes here. Tire conservation isn't as important as it is at Portland so I think it'll be a pretty fast race. Strategy will be huge. Traditionally, there aren't a lot of yellows here. If there are yellows, who dives in and who doesn't could make the difference. We're really going to have to have a good strategy based on what could happen. I think, other than the strategy, it's going to be a sprint race."