Road Atlanta: Series Thursday night practice report

PEUGEOT DAZZLES IN THE DARK AT ROAD ATLANTA Team Peugeot Total's Franck Montagny set the fastest lap of the week so far during Thursday's night practice session for the 12th annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6. The fast Frenchman turned a lap...

PEUGEOT DAZZLES IN THE DARK AT ROAD ATLANTA

Team Peugeot Total's Franck Montagny set the fastest lap of the week so far during Thursday's night practice session for the 12th annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6. The fast Frenchman turned a lap of 1:07.912 (134.645 mph) in one of Peugeot's factory 908 HDi diesel-powered coupes. Montagny, a two-time winner in the American Le Mans Series last season, will drive in the 1,000-mile/10-hour classic with countryman Stephane Sarrazin.

Montagny was 0.784 seconds ahead of Nic Minassian in the second Peugeot. The 2006 pole-winner at Road Atlanta posted a best lap of 1:08.696 (133.108 mph) in the prototype he will drive with Pedro Lamy. Audi Sport Team Joest's Dindo Capello, the three-time and defending race winner with teammate Allan McNish, sat third at 1:09.027 (132.470 mph).

Diesels held the top four spots with de Ferran Motorsports' Simon Pagenaud ending as the best of the E10-powered runners with a lap of 1:09.499 (131.570 mph). He will drive the XM Acura ARX-02a with team owner Gil de Ferran and Scott Dixon.

Klaus Graf was fastest in LMP2 for the second straight session behind the wheel of Team Cytosport's Porsche RS Spyder. The German's best lap of 1:12.107 (126.812 mph) -- driving the prototype with team owner Greg Pickett and Porsche factory pilot Sascha Maassen -- gave him a 0.769-second advantage over Adrian Fernandez in Lowe's Fernandez Racing's Acura ARX-01b.

Fernandez and Luis Diaz clinched the LMP2 driver championship in the previous Series round at Mosport last month. They were 1.924 seconds ahead of Ben Devlin in the third-place Dyson Racing Mazda-powered Lola B09/86 that he will drive with Butch Leitzinger and Marino Franchitti.

In GT2, Dominik Farnbacher set the session's fastest lap in Panoz Team PTG's Panoz Esperante GTLM. The young German's time of 1:22.050 (111.444 mph) in the Georgia-built Panoz that he will share with Ian James was a scant 0.020 seconds clear of Wolf Henzler in Farnbacher Loles Racing's Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. He is driving with Dirk Werner.

Risi Competizione's Jaime Melo sat third in class with a lap of 1:22.101 (111.375 mph) in the team's Ferrari F430 GT. He is teaming with Pierre Kaffer and Mika Salo, the same trio that won in class at the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.

The final official practice session is set for 9 a.m. ET on Friday with qualifying scheduled for 2:25 p.m. ET.

-credit: alms

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Series ALMS
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Franck Montagny , Klaus Graf , Gil de Ferran , Adrian Fernandez , Mika Salo , Scott Dixon , Stéphane Sarrazin , Pedro Lamy , Ben Devlin , Sascha Maassen , Luis Diaz , Ian James , Jaime Melo , Greg Pickett , Marino Franchitti , Wolf Henzler , Dominik Farnbacher , Simon Pagenaud , Dirk Werner , Dindo Capello
Teams Team Joest , Risi Competizione , Dyson Racing