Road Atlanta: Friday qualifying preview

Close Speeds at Top of Field as American Le Mans Series Teams Practice For Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta Braselton, GA - Qualifying will be held Friday for the American Le Mans Series Chevy presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and if ...

Close Speeds at Top of Field as American Le Mans Series Teams Practice For Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta

Braselton, GA - Qualifying will be held Friday for the American Le Mans Series Chevy presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and if Thursday's first official day of practice is any indication, the battle for the overall pole position will be a close one.

The top four Prototype cars in the field were separated by less than a second in the Thursday afternoon session, the second of three one-hour practices for the ALMS cars on the 2.54-mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta circuit.

Chevy presents Petit Le Mans is a 1,000-mile endurance race, one of the most prestigious sports car races in the world.

In the Thursday afternoon practice, leading the way were the two Audi R8 entries of ADT Champion Racing, with the car of new ALMS LMP1 champions JJ Lehto and Marco Werner fastest at 1:13.417. The second Champion entry of Johnny Herbert and Pierre Kaffer turned a lap of 1:13.704.

"I'm very happy with the pace," said Herbert. "We've focused mostly on the tire and chassis setup to get the car in the best race shape as possible. I bet we have more speed in the bag for qualifying. Now we need to be consistent for the race."

Third among the top Prototype class was the Dyson Racing Lola B01/60-AER of James Weaver, Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace at 1:14.048, followed by the Creation Autosportif DBA-Zytek of Jamie Campbell-Walter and Nicolas Minassian at 1:14.284.

The LMP2 class was led by the Intersport Racing Lola B2K/40-Judd of Clint Field, Milka Duno and Robin Liddell at 1:17.285, followed by the Miracle Motorsports Courage C65-AER of Ian James, James Gue and John Macaluso at 1:21.261. The Team Bucknum Racing/Miracle Motorsports Lola B2K/40-AER of Jeff Bucknum, Chris McMurry and Bryan Willman was third at 1:22.134.

The two Chevrolet Corvette C5-R entries of Corvette Racing were 1-2 in the GTS class Thursday afternoon, with the #4 car of Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen first at 1:18.360. The #3 car of Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Max Papis was second at 1:19.187. Third in class was the Carsport America Dodge Viper GTS-R of Tom Weickardt, Jean-Philippe Belloc and Fabio Babini at 1:20.397.

"Today was another great day on the track. It's beautiful here and I love driving with Olivier and Jan. The last time we were all together, we won Le Mans, so hopefully there is some carryover to this race. I'm qualifying the car (Friday) and I hope that one Corvette can finally break the GTS record. The weather has worked against us in the past."

The two Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR machines were 1-2 in the GT class. The #23 entry of Timo Bernhard, Jorg Bergmeister and Sascha Maassen was first at 1:23.126, followed by the #24 car of Romain Dumas, March Lieb and Wolf Henzler at 1:23.828.

Third in the GT class, in its ALMS debut, is the Cirtek Motorsports Ferrari 360 Modena GTC of Andrea Montermini, Frank Mountain and Rob Wilson at 1:23.955.

EVENT INFORMATION

Chevy presents Petit Le Mans will get the green flag at 12 noon (Eastern) on Saturday, September 25. The race will cover 1,000 miles, or 10 hours, whichever comes first on the 2.54-mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta circuit. Qualifying will be held on Friday, Sept. 24, along with an ALMS Fan Forum and an open paddock autograph session featuring all ALMS drivers. ALMS cars will also practice on Wednesday and Thursday of race week.

The race will be televised live in North America by the SPEED Channel and in Europe by MotorsTV. American Le Mans Series Radio will have live coverage of qualifying and the race that can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com.

Ticket information for the event is available online at www.americanlemans.com or by calling the Road Atlanta ticket office at (800) 849-RACE.

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Andy Wallace , Milka Duno , Johnny Herbert , Jan Magnussen , Butch Leitzinger , James Weaver , Nicolas Minassian , Max Papis , Johnny O'Connell , Robin Liddell , Ian James , Oliver Gavin , Jörg Bergmeister , Jamie Campbell-Walter , Timo Bernhard , John Macaluso , James Gue , Marco Werner , Andrea Montermini , Jean-Philippe Belloc , Chris McMurry , Bryan Willman , Jeff Bucknum , Romain Dumas , Tom Weickardt , Fabio Babini , Olivier Beretta , Frank Mountain , Pierre Kaffer , Wolf Henzler , Alex Job , JJ Lehto
Teams Corvette Racing , Dyson Racing , Alex Job Racing