SEBRING, FL - Eric Bernard put the Ford Panoz GTR1 on the pole for Friday's race with a time of 2:00.700. Bernard's fastest lap was eight tenths of a second faster than second place qualifier, the Porsche 911 of Pilgrim and McNish. Bernard...
SEBRING, FL - Eric Bernard put the Ford Panoz GTR1 on the pole for Friday's race with a time of 2:00.700. Bernard's fastest lap was eight tenths of a second faster than second place qualifier, the Porsche 911 of Pilgrim and McNish. Bernard was pleased with the car's speed but hasn't had time to set the car up for race conditions. "I think it's important to be on the pole position, but it's important to have a good car for the race" Bernard said. Bernard will share driving duties with David Brabham.
On the pole for GTS-2 and eighth overall, was Price Cobb driving a Porsche 911. Cobb said that he enjoyed the GTS-2 series because it was so competitive. Cobb's pole time was just a tenth of a second quicker than the second fastest qualifier, the Konrad/Ham Porsche 911. "The GTS-2 cars are heavier and more powerful than the GTS-3 cars, yet the GTS-3 cars have more tire" Cobb said.
Bill Auberlen put the PTG BMW M3 on the pole in GTS-3 on his last flying lap. As far as Auberlen is concerned, the car is race ready. "It took a day to figure it out, but the crew discovered exactly what the car wanted. The tires and car, everything is race ready. If we parked it now, I'd be really happy. It ran perfect; we should be in good shape for the race."
Auberlen will be doing triple duty this weekend with two rides in the Speedvision Cup race in addition to his duties at PTG. "When I come to Sebring, I can never drive enough" Auberlen said. "It's my favorite track".
Andrea Montermini only got two fast laps in the MOKART Ferrari 333SP but that was enough to put the car on pole for Saturday's two hour race. Montermini's fast lap was timed at 1:55.310. Sharing the front row is the team's second car, the Lista Ferrari 333SP, qualified by Didier Theys. Montermini was pleased to be back at a circuit that he had raced before.
While Montermini was pleased with the car's performance on the newly paved straight, he expressed concern over the placement of the barriers, particularly at the end of the straight. "If something happens to the car or a tire the barriers are right there."
In the newly reconfigured turn 17 (at the end of the back straight), the barriers are placed at the inside edge of the track. The barriers are high enough that the turn is now blind.
Both Dyson Racing cars occupy the second row of the grid for Saturday's race. Behind the pair of Dyson Fords is the Olds R&S MK III of Wayne Taylor and the Ferrari 333SP of Eliseo Salazar.
In the FIA Championship, J.J. Lehto was fastest in the morning session with a time of 1:58.601. The Mercedes CLK-GTR of Bernd Schneider was second fastest.
The second session was faster than the first. Three Mercedes lead the way with Schneider and Wurz, in the #11 car setting the best lap of 1:56.512. Lehto and Soper were fourth in the afternoon session, improving their morning time by over a second.
Hans Stuck ended the weekend for the #6 factory entered Porsche when he came together with the #60 Marcos LM600 at the end of the back straight. The team had a third car ready to run for Laguna Seca and they were able to use that car in the second session.
Friday's activities include the Exxon Supreme GT Series race at 1:00 p.m., the Speedvision Cup race at 5:00 p.m. and two more practice qualifying rounds for the FIA GT Championship cars.
Tickets are available by calling 1-800-626-RACE.
David Reininger - Motorsport News International