Petersen/White Lightning to Start Second in Petit Le Mans 2005 GT2 Champion Narrowly Misses Class Pole in Pursuit of Second Title BRASELTON, Ga., September 29, 2006 -- Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing will start second on the GT2...
Petersen/White Lightning to Start Second in Petit Le Mans
2005 GT2 Champion Narrowly Misses Class Pole in Pursuit of Second Title
BRASELTON, Ga., September 29, 2006 -- Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing will start second on the GT2 class grid in tomorrow's ninth annual Petit Le Mans. Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) narrowly missed the pole position for the ninth race of the American Le Mans Series today at Road Atlanta. Despite what he described as a perfect car and a great lap, Bergmeister's time of one minute, 22.545 seconds was 0.123 of a second behind the pole winning-entry. It is the fourth time this season that the No. 31 MMPIE/PAWS/Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR will start from the front row of the production car class field. The Michael Petersen-owned team, who won the 2005 American Le Mans Series GT2 championship on the shoulders of its first Petit Le Mans victory, has started from the pole position three times in 2006. Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Nic Jonsson (a native of Sweden now living in Buford, Ga.) will co-drive with Bergmeister in the ten hour or 1,000 mile Petit Le Mans at the 2.54-mile North Georgia facility.
Team manager Dale White (Bozeman, MT) held Bergmeister in the pit lane for the first several minutes of the 20 minute qualifying session. Once released, Bergmeister quickly got to business setting his fast lap on the fourth of five circuits. The No. 62 Ferrari 430 nipped the fast lap late in the session. The No. 31 had run consistently within the top-three in each of the three daytime practice sessions leading into today's time trial. They only slipped from the sharp-end of the field during the two hour night practice held Thursday evening. Then, as scheduled, the only action was the completion of the required three night laps by each of the drivers. They will now challenge for their ninth career American Le Mans Series class victory, their third of the season, from 20th overall in the 28 car field.
Magnifying the importance of tomorrow's penultimate round of the season is the tight point battle in which Bergmeister, Long and the team are currently embroiled. Bergmeister, who shared the 2005 GT2 Driver title with Long, is currently just 16 points out of the championship lead with 26 markers available in tomorrow's race. The Las Vegas-based effort is third in the GT2 class team points with 102 markers, 16 out of first. Long is ranked third with 92.
Dale White, Team Manager/Entrant: "We gave it everything we had and I think the Ferrari did too. We have been right there all weekend and feel very good about the car that we have for tomorrow's race. A lot of things can be thrown at you in ten hours and how quickly you can overcome those things is the difference between winning and losing. We are really focused on the race. We all want the championship but we know to defend that, we have to defend our win here from last year first. So, our focus is completely on winning tomorrow."
Jorg Bergmeister: "The Ferrari was just a little quicker than we were. If we compare with the other Porsches, the team did an outstanding job. The car was great; I'd say perfect. We just had the three laps when we had the good peak of the tire. I think I had a really good lap. That is all we had."