Sebring: Petersen/WLR qualifying report

Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing to Start Second in Sebring Ferrari Debut Sebring, Fla., March 15, 2007 -- Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing will debut the team's new Ferrari F430 GT at the 55th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours...

Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing to Start Second in Sebring Ferrari Debut

Sebring, Fla., March 15, 2007 -- Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing will debut the team's new Ferrari F430 GT at the 55th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring from second- place on the GT2 class grid. Tomas Enge (a native of the Czech Republic living in Monaco) turned a time of two minutes, 2.701 seconds around the 3.7-mile Sebring International Raceway in today's 15 minute qualifying session. While a valiant and impressive effort in the No. 31 MMPIE/PAWS/Petersen Holdings/Michelin Ferrari F430 GT, Enge would fall three-tenths of a second behind the pole-winning No. 62 Ferrari F430 GT. Enge will be joined behind the wheel of the Ferrari F430 GT by Tim Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) for Saturday's 12 Hours of Sebring. Memo Gidley (Novato, Calif.) will be on hand as a reserve driver for the team should Enge or Bergmeister feel the need for relief during the event.

Enge turned his fast lap on the second of four circuits. He attempted another quick time on his final timed lap but narrowly missed bettering his time, turning a 2:02.784. The top four cars all bettered the existing track record, 2:03.563, set last year in qualifying. Enge's time was seven-tenths quicker than the third fastest qualifier.

The 2005 GT2 class winners here at Sebring have been quick throughout the week leading into the 10 AM (ET) start of the American Le Mans Series season- opener. The Michael Petersen-owned team set the fastest lap in the first official practice on Wednesday with a 2:02.694. They have regularly been within the top-three here since testing began on Saturday. The Dale White-managed team currently does not plan to participate in Friday's 55 minute practice session. They will return for the morning warm-up on Saturday morning at 7:30 AM (ET).

The sister car to the Petersen Motorsports-entry, the No. 32 Corsa Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Ferrari F430 GT did not participate in qualifying following an accident in practice on Wednesday. The car arrived back at the track at 3 PM, just 20 minutes before the qualifying session, and still needed much work prior to running. The Steve Pruitt-owned car driven by Rui Aguas (Porto, Portugal), Jose Maria Lopez (Cordoba, Argentina) and Maurizio Mediani (Reggio Emilia, Italy) will start from the back of the grid on Saturday. The race is scheduled to begin Saturday, March 17 at 10 AM.

Quotes:

Dale White, Entrant/Team Manager: "I can't say we are disappointed. Yes, we always want to be at the top of the chart but for the first race with the Ferrari, I am happy. We have really been focused on making the car good for the full stint. Testing was entirely about that. We kept the same Michelin tires on the car for almost the first whole day of testing and we were very consistent. So, while we would have liked to start the year and our relationship as the top Ferrari, it wasn't critical for making this a successful weekend."

Tomas Enge, Driver: "The run was good. I had a very consistent run. I couldn't find these three-tenths to beat Jamie [Melo]. The first qualifying I knew would be hard. I still need to get used to the car on new tires. Because I know the first laps would have been the fastest, the tires had the most grip. But at that time I was just trying to find the best limit. Later I was on the limit but the tires were already out of peak. For sure there will be a big battle between the 45 Porsche, the 62 Ferrari so I believe that it won't be easy in the race. Qualifying might have seemed to be easier but the race will be different and it will be tough. We would like to stand on the top step on the podium. Whether we start first or last, we just want to win."

-credit: pm/wlr

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Series ALMS
Drivers Tomas Enge , Memo Gidley , Michael Petersen , Maurizio Mediani , Jose Maria Lopez , Tim Bergmeister , Rui Aguas