|Team boss Roger Penske congratulates Timo Bernhard|
Timo Bernhard stole the thunder from Gil de Ferran and de Ferran Motorsports at Miller Motorsports Park with a stunning pole position run for Porsche and Penske Racing in qualifying for the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by the Grand and Little America Hotels. Bernhard turned a lap of 1:31.050 (120.514 mph) in the Porsche RS Spyder he will share with Romain Dumas.
Bernhard edged out de Ferran, making his return to racing and debut in the American Le Mans Series, by 0.139 seconds. De Ferran, who last raced in 2003, nevertheless will start on the front row after a lap of 1:31.189 (120.330 mph) in the Acura ARX-01b he will drive with Simon Pagenaud.
The top five cars were from the LMP2 class as they took advantage of superior cornering abilities on the 3.048-mile, 15-turn circuit. Luis Diaz was third for Lowe’s Fernandez Racing and Acura, just 0.292 seconds behind Bernhard.
In all, the first nine cars were separated by just 0.853 seconds, the tightest qualifying session ever seen in the Series.
|With snow on the mountains in the background the two Penske Porsches circulate in tandem|
Marco Werner was first in LMP1 for Audi Sport North America but sixth overall in the Audi R10 TDI he will drive with Lucas Luhr. Werner’s lap of 1:31.590 (119.803 mph) was a scant 0.207 seconds ahead of Frank Biela in the second Audi that also will be driven by Emanuele Pirro.
Luhr and Werner enter Miller Motorsports Park having won the last two overall races. And despite their overall position, all is not lost for Sunday’s race. The duo started sixth overall at Long Beach and still managed to post an impressive victory.
Olivier Beretta put Corvette Racing’s No. 4 Corvette C6.R on the GT1 pole position for the second time this season. Beretta’s time of 1:43.869 (105.641 mph) was just 0.175 seconds ahead of Johnny O’Connell in the sister Corvette. Beretta took his second pole of the season after qualifying out front in class at St. Petersburg.
O’Connell and Jan Magnussen had been quickest in each of the three previous sessions but Beretta and Gavin won last year at Miller Motorsports Park. The No. 4 crew also changed its gearbox during Friday’s test session.
|Flying Lizard Porsche|
Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Wolf Henzler took the GT2 pole position in a dead heat with Risi Competizione’s Jaime Melo. Both drivers turned in a lap of 1:47.135 (102.420 mph) but Henzler’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR posted the time first and was awarded the top spot.
Henzler’s pole was his second of the season and followed the first of his career at St. Petersburg in the second race of the season. It also marks Flying Lizard’s third consecutive class pole position as it looks to maintain its slim two-point lead in the GT2 team championship.
Henzler will team with Jörg Bergmeister, the duo looking for their first victory since winning Sebring with Marc Lieb. On the other hand, Melo and Mika Salo are looking for their first win of the season in the Ferrari F430 GT after winning nine times and the class championship last season.
Patrick Pilet gave Flying Lizard third in class qualifying order at 1:47.252 (102.309 mph).
The Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by The Grand and Little America Hotels is set for Sunday, May 18 from Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. The green flag is scheduled for 1 p.m. MT with live television coverage on SPEED. Live radio coverage will be available on XM Satellite Radio Channel 144 and American Le Mans Radio at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA’s Live Timing & Scoring.
1. Timo Bernhard, Germany; Romain Dumas, France; Porsche RS Spyder (P2), 1:31.050, 120.51
2. Gil de Ferran, Brazil; Simon Pagenaud, France; Acura ARX-01B (P2), 1:31.189, 120.33
3. Luis Diaz, Mexico; Adrian Fernandez, Mexico; Acura ARX-01B (P2), 1:31.342, 120.13
4. Scott Sharp, Jupiter, FL; David Brabham, Australia; Acura ARX-01B (P2), 1:31.352, 120.12
5. Patrick Long, Oak Park, CA; Sascha Maassen, Germany; Porsche RS Spyder (P2), 1:31.462, 119.97
6. Lucas Luhr, Germany; Marco Werner, Germany; Audi AG R10/TDI (P1), 1:31.590, 119.80
7. Marino Franchitti, Scotland; Butch Leitzinger, State College, PA; Porsche RS Spyder (P2), 1:31.683, 119.68
8. Frank Biela, Germany; Emanuele Pirro, Italy; Audi AG R10/TDI (P1), 1:31.797, 119.53
9. Bryan Herta, Valencia, CA; Christian Fittipaldi, Miami, FL; Acura ARX-01B (P2), 1:31.903, 119.40
10. Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, NY; Guy Smith, England; Porsche RS Spyder (P2), 1:32.356, 118.81
11. Jon Field, Dublin, OH; Clint Field, Dublin, OH; Richard Berry, Evergreen, CO; Lola B06/10 AER (P1), 1:34.870, 115.66
12. Gerardo Bonilla, Orlando, FL; Ben Devlin, England; Lola B07 46 Mazda (P2), 1:35.241, 115.21
13. Oliver Gavin, England; Olivier Beretta, Monaco; Corvette C6.R (GT1), 1:43.869, 105.64
14. Jan Magnussen, Denmark; Johnny O’Connell, Flowery Branch, GA; Corvette C6.R (GT1), 1:44.044, 105.46
15. Joerg Bergmeister, Germany; Wolf Henzler, Germany; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 1:47.135, 102.42
16. Jaime Melo, Brazil; Mika Salo, Finland; Ferrari F430 GT (GT2), 1:47.135, 102.42
17. Johannes van Overbeek, San Francisco, CA; Patrick Pilet, France; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 1:47.252, 102.31
18. Dirk Werner, Germany; Marc Basseng, Germany; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 1:47.338, 102.23
19. Dominik Farnbacher, Germany; Dirk Mueller, Germany; Ferrari F430 GT (GT2), 1:47.958, 101.64
20. Harrison Brix, San Jose, CA; Patrick Friesacher, Austria; Ferrari F430 GT (GT2), 1:48.330, 101.29
21. Johnny Mowlem, England; Gunnar Jeannette, Palm Beach Gardens, FL; Ferrari F430 GT (GT2), 1:48.399, 101.23
22. Tom Milner, Leesburg, VA; Tom Sutherland, Los Gatos, CA; Panoz Esperante Ford (GT2), 1:49.039, 100.63
23. Doug Peterson, Bonita Springs, FL; Lou Gigliotti, Dallas, TX; Chevrolet Riley Corvette C6 (GT2), 1:49.057, 100.62
24. Alex Figge, Hollywood, CA; Jim Tafel, Alpharetta, GA; Ferrari F430 GT (GT2), 1:49.928, 99.82
25. David Murry, Cumming, GA; David Robertson, Ray, MI; Andrea Robertson, Ray, MI; Doran Ford GT-R (GT2), 1:50.433, 99.36
26. Francisco Pastorelli, Netherlands; Nicky Pastorelli, Netherlands; Rueben Carrapatoso, Brazil; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 1:50.893, 98.95
27. Jonny Cocker, UK; Paul Drayson, London, UK; Aston Martin Vantage GT2 (GT2), 1:51.743, 98.20
28. Seth Neiman, Burlingame, CA; Darren Law, Phoenix, AZ; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 1:52.054, 97.92
29. Craig Stanton, Long Beach, CA; Nathan Swartzbaugh, La Habra Heights, LA; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), No Time
30. Chris Hall, Daytona, FL; Joel Feinberg, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Dodge Viper Comp Coupe (GT2), No Time