Road Atlanta: The Racer's Group qualifying report

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The #66 New Century Mortgage/Monster Cable Porsche of Patrick Long, Cort Wagner and Mike Rockenfeller qualified 3rd for tomorrow's 10-hour Petit Le Mans, with Long scoring the team's best qualifying result of the season in a 20 minute session today. The qualifying session was a thriller, with several GT and GTS cars spinning, plowing through gravel traps and nearly spearing each other through the grass. TRG's cars both avoided trouble during the sessions, though they weren't unaffected by the action on the track.

"It was wild out there!" said Porsche factory driver Patrick Long. "The track conditions were a bit messy from the race that ran just this morning. After the 2nd lap, there was a pretty fun scrap between Timo and Lucas [Bergmeister and Luhr, Porsche factory drivers], but I was able to stay out of trouble and ahead of them. This is our best qualifying result of the year, and it's in the race that counts the most, so I'm very happy."

Long's co-driver Cort Wagner was excited about the result, and anticipating a great race. "The TRG team has built us a solid, fast race car -- Pat's qualifying run is a testament to its speed. The team has been great all weekend, and we deserve the luck for a good race. New Century Mortgage has brought out a lot of guests for this race, and they're in for a good show."

Pierre Ehret qualified the #67 Flamingo Resort/TRG Porsche 13th in class today, lapping the challenging Road Atlanta circuit in 1:23.682. He will team with Philip Collin and Robert Nearn for tomorrow's race, and commented on the car's performance. "I'm looking forward to running here tomorrow," he said. "Philip and Robert are very quick, very steady drivers, and the car is properly set up. We'll run a consistent and smart race, and we'll look for a good finish."

Team owner Kevin Buckler said, "Great result for Patrick in the #66 car. It's a good car and our crew has got it very well dialed in. The thing I'm most happy about is that Pat got his fast lap in within four laps, which allows us to conserve our tires very nicely. Pierre did a great job in the #67 car, and didn't put too many laps on his tires either -- this race is most definitely one of endurance, so I think we'll see both cars run steadily all day long."

When asked what the team's strategy for the race was, Buckler replied succinctly, "Simple. To win."

Petit Le Mans, a 10-hour endurance race, is among the highlights of the ALMS racing schedule. The race runs this year on September 25, and will be broadcast live in the U.S. on Speed Channel beginning at 10am ET.


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Series ALMS
Drivers Kevin Buckler , Pierre Ehret , Patrick Long , Robert Nearn , Mike Rockenfeller , Cort Wagner