Porsche leads opening practice at Lime Rock It took Romain Dumas one session to get below last year’s qualifying record at Lime Rock Park. The Frenchman and Porsche factory pilot posted a best time of 44.659 in the opening practice for the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at the picturesque Connecticut circuit. The No. 7 Penske Motorsports Porsche RS Spyder led a contingent of LMP2 cars that held the top six spots.
Dumas, who won the P2 class last year and finished second overall, sat on the overall pole last year in the RS Spyder’s first appearance at Lime Rock with a lap of 45.588. The team tested Tuesday, and the benefits already are evident. Behind Dumas sat Dyson Racing’s Guy Smith in another Porsche prototype at 45.176.
Acura held the next two positions. David Brabham was the quickest driver for the first-year effort in the Danbury, Conn.-based Highcroft Racing Acura ARX at 45.7999 followed by Andretti Green Racing’s Bryan Herta, who was 0.03 seconds behind Brabham.
Allan McNish was the quickest of the P1 cars at 46.419 in the diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI he will share with Dindo Capello. The pairing took an overall win last year at Lime Rock in the last race for the famed Audi R8. Diesel power is debuting at Lime Rock this weekend and finds itself seventh and eighth overall. Recent Le Mans winner Marco Werner, in the other Audi with Emanuele Pirro, was 0.225 seconds behind McNish.
Olivier Beretta turned in the fastest GT1 lap for Corvette Racing in the Corvette C6.R he will share with Oliver Gavin. The class record-holder in qualifying was at 51.411 and 0.013 seconds ahead of the sister car of Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen.
Tomas Enge picked up where he left off at Utah’s Miller Motorsports Park with a GT2-best lap of 52.431 in the Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Ferrari F430 GT. He and Darren Turner took an emotional victory in the previous round. Next up was the Risi Competizione Ferrari of Jaime Melo and Mika Salo, 0.707 seconds behind Enge, and the Panoz Esperante GTLM of Bill Auberlen and Panoz Team PTG at 53.275.
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