Sebring: Petersen/WLR Wednesday report

Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing's Enge Turns Top Time in Sebring Practice Sebring, Fla., March 14, 2007 -- Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing sat on top of the GT2 class time charts in the first official practice day for the...

Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing's Enge Turns Top Time in Sebring Practice

Sebring, Fla., March 14, 2007 -- Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing sat on top of the GT2 class time charts in the first official practice day for the 55th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Driver Tomas Enge (a native of the Czech Republic living in Monaco) turned the quickest lap in the class for Wednesday on the 3.7-mile Sebring International Raceway in the second of two 55 minute sessions. The time of two minutes, 2.694 seconds in the No. 31 MMPIE/PAWS/Petersen Holdings/Michelin Ferrari F430 GT betters the existing track record (2:03.563), set in 2006, by nearly a full second. Enge, who shares the Ferrari with Tim Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) and Memo Gidley (Novato, Calif.), turned the time early in the session. Bergmeister and Gidley were also able to turn quick times in the car during the practice sessions. Qualifying is scheduled at 3:20 PM (ET) tomorrow for the Michael Petersen-owned team.

The practice session proved to be a reward for the hard work of the Dale White-managed operation. The team, which had never professionally raced any car other than a Porsche 911-derived entry prior to this weekend, purchased a new Ferrari F430 GT for competition over the winter. The team, led by Dennis Chizma (Las Vegas, Nev.) received the car from the factory in February but, as with any new race car, had to do a significant amount of work to ready it for Sebring. Seeing the car on top of the time charts helps to forget the long nights with little sleep.

The No. 32 Corsa Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Ferrari F430 GT, the sister car to the Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing, did not enjoy the same success as the No. 31. While in the Steve Pruitt- owned car, Rui Aguas (Porto, Portugal) was forced offline in Turn 17 early in the second practice. The Ferrari F430 GT suffered heavy right rear damage forcing the car to be sent to an area body shop for repairs. It is expected that it will miss qualifying giving the two teams only one shot at the pole position.

The MMPIE/PAWS/Petersen Holdings Ferrari will have one more 55 minute practice (10:15 AM ET) prior to tomorrow's 15 minute qualifying session. The race is scheduled to begin Saturday, March 17 at 10 AM.

Quotes:

Dale White, Entrant/Team Manager: "It was a bittersweet session; that's for sure. With the Corsa car having the accident but at the same time Tomas turning the quickest lap. That is a pretty up-and-down practice session. We're really pleased with today's results in the 31 car. It was gratifying not because we turned the top time but because we are finding where we want to be with the car for the race. Tomas turned a great time today but, based on what we have seen in testing, everyone will pick it up for qualifying. I don't think we have found all the speed that the Petersen Motorsports Ferrari has in it but I also don't think we have seen everyone else's best either. Anyone that knows this team knows we aren't all that interested in being at the top of the charts in any session other than the last one on race day. Being quick in practice and qualifying is nice, but we'd much rather be hoisting a trophy on Saturday and that is what we are working on."

-credit: pm/wlr

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Tomas Enge , Memo Gidley , Michael Petersen , Tim Bergmeister , Rui Aguas , Steve Pruitt