Utah: Penske Racing Thursday test report

PENSKE PORSCHES QUICKEST IN FIRST UTAH TEST SESSION TOOELE COUNTY, Utah (July 13, 2006) -- In what could be considered a bit of a surprise, Penske Racing's two Porsche RS Spyders set the two fastest times Thursday in a 90-minute test session for...

PENSKE PORSCHES QUICKEST IN FIRST UTAH TEST SESSION

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah (July 13, 2006) -- In what could be considered a bit of a surprise, Penske Racing's two Porsche RS Spyders set the two fastest times Thursday in a 90-minute test session for the Utah Grand Prix at the new Miller Motorsports Park.

Timo Bernhard in the No. 7 Penske Porsche LMP2 entry set the fastest time at the wide-open 4.5-mile, 24-turn road course at 2:24.143. The gap back to Sascha Maassen's time in the No. 6 sister car couldn't have been much closer: 0.004 seconds.

The two Porsche RS Spyders tested at Miller Motorsports Park in June, and for at least a day they enjoyed an advantage over the two diesel-powered Audi R10 TDIs from Audi Sport North America Team Champion. Allan M cNish posted the quickest LMP1 time in the No. 2 Audi at 2:25.613. The Scot and Dindo Capello are the current championship leaders in class.

Next in P1 on Thursday was the Le Mans-winning tandem of Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro, who are competing in their first Series race since the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The 2005 Series champions were a half second back of their sister car and two seconds behind the leading Penske Porsche.

The two Aston Martin Racing DBR9s were 1-2 in GT1 with Stephane Sarrazin turning in the fastest time in the No. 009 at 2:38.677. In the last Series round at Lime Rock Park, Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy held off the Corvette C6.R of Johnny O'Connell and Ron Fellows by 0.033 seconds for a class win.

Thursday, Sarrazin was a full second ahead of the sister Aston Martin of Tomas Enge and Darren Turner. The two Corvettes were about a half second better back of their chief rivals.

In GT2, Jamie Melo made a late run to take the spot in class for Risi Competizione. The Brazilian turned in a lap of 2:46.050 in the Risi Ferrari F430GT in the waning minutes of the session. He was 1.4 seconds quicker than class championship leader Johannes van Overbeek and teammate Wolf Henzler in one of the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche, which sat atop the speed charts for a majority of the session. Third in class was the sister Porsche of Seth Neiman and Darren Law.

The Utah Grand Prix, the fifth round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series, is set for 6 p.m. MDT on Saturday, July 15 at the new Miller Motorsports Park just outside of Salt Lake City. CBS will broadcast the race from 2 to 4 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 16. MotorsTV will broadcast the race in Europe from 6:30 to 9:30 CET on Sunday, July 16. American Le Mans Radio will provide live coverage on americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Tomas Enge , Frank Biela , Darren Turner , Johnny O'Connell , Stéphane Sarrazin , Pedro Lamy , Sascha Maassen , Darren Law , Timo Bernhard , Johannes van Overbeek , Seth Neiman , Wolf Henzler , Dindo Capello , Emanuele Pirro
Teams Team Penske , Aston Martin Racing , Flying Lizard Motorsports