Road Atlanta: Farnbacher Loles qualifying report

Farnbacher Loles will once again be contesting the 12th Annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6 at Road Atlanta with the ...

Farnbacher Loles will once again be contesting the 12th Annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6 at Road Atlanta with the #87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR starting ninth in the ultra competitive American Le Mans Series GT2 class. The top nine qualified GT2 cars were within one second of each other with six different manufacturers represented in the top ten. With the Farnbacher Loles race shop located directly adjacent to the 2.54 mile twelve-turn circuit, the 1,000 mile or ten-hour event is the team's home race and everyone will be looking for a top result in fr ont of their friends and family.

Wolf Henzler of Nurtingen, Germany will be paired with Dirk Werner f or the fifth time the season as Henzler looks to improve one positio n on his 2008 second place finish. During today's qualifying session , Henzler only completed seven hot laps, with each lap faster than t he previous. His fast lap of 1:21.760 will have the Porsche Factory Driver starting ninth in class, 21st overall for the rigorous endura nce event.

"We've had a little bad luck this week, with missing a practice session and getting hit by a prototype," Henzler said. "The crew is working hard on the car to get it ready for the race and they alw ays do a wonderful job. The car oversteered in qualifying, but for s ure we want to win the race on Saturday. With Dirk in the car with m e, I believe we have a good opportunity to do just that."

After qualifying second and ultimately finishing fourteenth in 2008 due to a mechanical failure, Dirk Werner, of Kissenbruck, Germany, is highly motivated to get the #87 Porsche on the podium this Saturday.

"The Petit for me will be special, because it's my last ALMS race this year. I'm looking forward to an exciting race with hard battles for the podium spots as the lineup in GT2 is just awesome. The comp etition will be really tough. With Wolf, I have the perfect teammate for this race and the Farnbacher Loles Team put in a lot of effort in repairing the car after yesterday's incident with the prototype. We will all try to give our best to make this a good race tomorrow."

The incident involving the prototype resulted in one of the most spectacular crashes ever seen in the series. During Thursday's after noon practice session, Werner was exiting pit lane and still below t he blend line, when the PatrÃ"n Highcroft Acura driven by Scott Sharp approached turn one at full speed. The Acura caught the front left corner of the #87 Porsche and catapulted the prototype into the air. After a series of barrel rolls, and a heavy impact with the catch f encing, what was left of Sharp's car came to rest at turn two. As th e dust settled, thankfully Sharp climbed out uninjured. While the Hi ghcroft team have some serious work ahead of them to make the start, the Farnbacher Loles crew got their car repaired in time for the ev ening practice, where Henzler ripped off a 1:22.070. The time was th e second fastest in the session, only .020 behind the leader. In fac t, Henzler and Werner were the fastest Porsche drivers throughout th e night practice. Unfortunately, changing weather conditions prevent ed the #87 Porsche from replicating the promising practice session r esults in qualifying.

Farnbacher Loles Team Principal, Gregory Loles, knows that the impending rain will be a big factor in tomorrow's results. "Although the car was fast in the practice sessions, the dramatic in crease in track temperature during qualifying was not compensated fo r, so the car had a big oversteer," Loles said. "Everyone was off by at least a half of a second, so it looks like it caught everyone out. It's going to be a long wet race tomorrow, so we're focusing on that. But we know that the car is capable, Wolf and Dirk are read y to go, and our crew always does a great job. We're ready!"

-credit: fl

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Scott Sharp , Wolf Henzler , Dirk Werner