Sebring: Petersen/White Lightning Thursday report

Petersen/ White Lightning Wins First GT2 Pole at Sebring SEBRING, Fla., March 17, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing was awarded its first American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT2 class pole position today at Sebring International...

Petersen/ White Lightning Wins First GT2 Pole at Sebring

SEBRING, Fla., March 17, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing was awarded its first American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT2 class pole position today at Sebring International Raceway (SIR). Due to inclement weather in central Florida, the starting grid for the 53rd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring has been determined based on the practice times from the three previous on-track sessions- two dry sessions on Wednesday and one wet session this morning. Jorg Bergmeister's lap of two minutes, 4.960 seconds in Wednesday's opening practice earned Michael Petersen's No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR its first series pole. Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) will be joined by Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Lucas Luhr (Monaco) in pursuit of the two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans GT2 class champions first victory at Sebring.

Petersen/ White Lightning has finished on the podium each of the last two seasons in the 12 Hours of Sebring. Luhr will be attempting to win his fifth Sebring GT2 (formerly GT) victory in six attempts. Bergmeister and Long will each be racing for their first wins at the historic endurance event held on the 3.7-mile race course. A night practice is schedule for 7:30 pm (ET) this evening, weather permitting. The 53rd green flag will fall on the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino Porsche at 10:45 am (ET), Saturday.

For more, please visit www.petersenmotorsports.com.

Michael Petersen, team owner: "It's not a bad way to start the season. We're excited to have the pole. It isn't exactly the way we would have wanted it; I would have much rather have tried it in the dry but unfortunately no one can control Mother Nature. The Twelve Hour race is long and starting from the pole is nice but I'm not sure if it is an advantage. But, we're looking forward to race."

Dale White, team manager: "We've been running hard all week. With qualifying you only have one or two laps to get a good time but our consistent quick laps over all the sessions is what won us the pole. So it is a better reflection of how we've been running all week and how the grid should be. Some teams that should qualify well don't because you have a bad qualifying time for any number of reasons. This is a better representation of how people are performing."

Jorg Bergmeister, driver: "I think overall, though we didn't have qualifying, everyone used at least one new set of tires yesterday. So I think it is pretty fair. It makes sense to do this. Today it was just too risky. The one that would have just gone for it on a straightaway would have won the pole. This doesn't change our strategy at all. We will run our race and our pace and see where we end up."

Patrick Long, driver: "We're not too bummed out with the rain. The weather calls for this to clear before the race comes so this isn't too bad. We're keeping a cool head over it and waiting for it to pass."

-pm/wlr-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Lucas Luhr , Jörg Bergmeister , Patrick Long , Michael Petersen