Homestead: Thursday practice report

Donohue Leads First Practice for Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 22, 2007) -- In a practice session that included a rain shower for the final 30 minutes, David Donohue piloted the No. 58 Red Bull/Brumos...

Donohue Leads First Practice for Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 22, 2007) -- In a practice session that included a rain shower for the final 30 minutes, David Donohue piloted the No. 58 Red Bull/Brumos Racing Porsche Riley to a best lap of 1:14.593 (111.002 mph) and led the opening day of Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve practice for Saturday's Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami (SPEED, Live, 2:00 p.m. ET).

Donohue heads into Saturday's race looking for his first Rolex Series victory since the 2003 season. His co-driver, Darren Law, started the No. 58 machine from the pole position for the Rolex Series event at Homestead-Miami Speedway two years ago. Donohue and Law have run among the front-runners in both Rolex Series events thus far in 2007, with a best result of sixth earlier this month in Mexico City.

"Brumos Racing has always run strong here in particular, both here and Daytona, so we're optimistic" Donohue said. "Finishing first in practice on Thursday isn't necessarily an indication of what's going to happen at this time on Saturday but it doesn't hurt. We haven't had much testing time compared to other guys. I have to emphasize that it's the first practice on Thursday and the session was shortened by rain. We still have work to do with the car."

Second-quickest in the session was Oswaldo Negri Jr. in the No. 60 NetApp/TSP/Michael Shank Racing Lexus Riley. Negri posted a best lap at 1:14.787 (110.714 mph) in the car he is sharing with Mark Patterson. The Brazilian, who makes his home in Miami, and Patterson are looking for their second Rolex Series victory on Saturday.

"I'm happy we had a chance to get some laps in when it was dry out there and that Mark also got some dry laps in as well," said Negri. "We were first on the first day at Daytona, second on the first day in Mexico, and now second today, so obviously the guys are doing a great job and we have fast cars everywhere we go. This race is important to me not just because I'll have a lot of friends and family out here, but also because we should have a good chance this weekend to make up more ground in the championship, and we are really focused on that."

Negri led a two-car assault on the top three for Michael Shank Racing, as Ian James wound up third on the day in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus Riley. James turned a lap at 1:14.928 (110.506 mph) and will share the ride with Henri Zogaib. The duo is looking for its first Rolex Series victory on Saturday.

"Michael Shank Racing has been doing a great job with our shock program, and even though this isn't the bumpiest of tracks, our car has such a good balance here," said James, who took 10th in the Mexico City round with co-driver Henri Zogaib. "When we tested here in November, it was the first time I'd been on this track in a Daytona Prototype, so now I am feeling right at home and this is obviously a good way to start the weekend off."

Miami Beach resident Max Papis was fourth-quickest in the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley with a lap at 1:14.931 (110.502 mph). However, shortly after his quick lap Papis spun into the gravel trap at Turn 8. Papis and 18-year-old co-driver Colin Braun finished second in the Mexico City 400k.

Max Angelelli rounded out the top five in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley at 1:15.079 (110.284 mph). Angelelli and co-driver Jan Magnussen have finished third in both of the first two races this season and have finished inside the top five in their last nine Rolex Series events as co-drivers.

The top eight times in the session were covered by less than one second.

LALLY LEADS GT PRACTICE IN HOMESTEAD

Defending Rolex Series GT co-champion Andy Lally turned in the quickest time in GT practice for Saturday's Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami. Lally logged a best lap at 1:20.785 (102.494 mph) in the No. 66 CRG/Maxter/Rotax/MBA/NFP/F1Air Porsche GT3 he is sharing with RJ Valentine. Lally took the GT class victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway two years ago.

"We are glad to be back at Homestead," Lally said. "We have always been strong here and we have taken our baseline set-up from year's past and applied it to the new car and it worked. The best part is that we were fast in the wet and when it dried we were still fast so that is good. Considering the crazy weather that is expected for this weekend, that might be a good thing. Our team did a good job between here and Mexico and reworked the car, even more than after Daytona, and we are closer to where we want to be."

Second-quickest in GT was Leh Keen in the No. 85 Shoes for Crews/Recaro Porsche GT3 at 1:21.171 (102.007 mph). Keen and co-driver Dominik Farnbacher finished second three weeks ago at Mexico City and the Farnbacher Loles Motorsports program--which is in its first full season of Rolex Series competition--has been quick throughout the first two races and preseason testing.

Nick Ham--who earned his first Rolex Series class pole position and celebrated his first GT class victory in Mexico City with co-driver Sylvain Tremblay--was third-quickest in class. Ham posted a best lap of 1:21.242 (101.918 mph) in the No. 70 Mazda/Mazdaspeed RX-8 for the Sunrise, Fla.-based SpeedSource team.

"We were about as quick as we have ever been here," Tremblay said. "When we unloaded we were great. We have a good car setup and you have to these days in GT. You have to be awesome from the beginning. The bar was raised last year with a lot of good new teams, like Tafel Racing, joining in and just being okay anymore is not good enough. You have to be on all the time and that is our goal."

Dirk Werner made it two Farnbacher Loles Motorsports Porsches inside the top-four class positions by running the fourth-quickest lap of the day in the No. 87 Marquis Jet/IPC/Recaro Porsche GT3. Werner's best lap was 1:21.426 (101.687 mph) in the car he is sharing with Bryce Miller.

Alex Tagliani completed the GT top five in the No. 15 USG Sheetrock/Ramset Tools/Guardian Ford Mustang Cobra with a lap at 1:21.523 (101.566 mph). Tagliani is co-driving with car owner Tom Nastasi on the Florida-based Blackforest Motorsports team.

-credit: garra

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Jan Magnussen , Max Papis , Alex Tagliani , Colin Braun , Ian James , Andy Lally , Darren Law , David Donohue , Max Angelelli , Sylvain Tremblay , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Nick Ham , Mark Patterson , Lehman Keen , Henri Zogaib , Michael Shank , Dirk Werner , Bryce Miller
Teams SpeedSource , Michael Shank Racing