LMP2 car again fastest at Mosport
Eager to wrap up a pair of American Le Mans Series championships on Sunday, Romain Dumas and Penske Motorsports fired the opening salvo with an impressive performance in testing for the Mobil 1 presents Grand Prix of Mosport. The Frenchman blistered Mosport International Raceway with a lap of 1:06.765 for the best overall time in the two-hour session.
Dumas’ lap was more than a second under James Weaver’s class qualifying record of 1:07.906 set in 2003 in a Lola LMP675. Even more impressive is that he was 0.404 seconds under Frank Biela’s overall qualifying record in an Audi R8.
Dumas set the fast time of the session on each of his final three laps before rain flooded the track and brought an early end to the session.
“The track is hugely demanding,” observed factory driver Dumas, who with Timo Bernhard has won the last two overall races and four this season. “There is hardly any other race track with so many fast corners back-to-back. But this is good for our RS Spyder. We can really show our strength here.”
Penske can clinch the LMP2 class championship with a victory this week, and Porsche has the chance to wrap up both the chassis and engine manufacturer titles.
Second overall and first in LMP1 was Emanuele Pirro, who like Dumas lowered his time on each of his final four laps. The Italian driver ended with a 1:07.039, again under Biela’s qualifying mark. He will share the No. 2 diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI with Marco Werner.
Audi has won five times at Mosport since 2000 including last year’s win for Allan McNish and Dindo Capello. The R10 TDI hasn’t lost in P1 since debuting in the Series last year but hasn’t tasted overall victory in the Series since St. Petersburg in late March. Pirro, Werner and Biela did win overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the second year in a row.
Next was the second Penske Porsche of Ryan Briscoe and Sascha Maassen at 1:07.089, followed by the other Audi of McNish and Capello.
The top four cars were separated by 0.395 seconds.
Jan Magnussen posted the fastest time in GT1 in Corvette Racing’s No. 3 Corvette C6.R. The Dane, a winner in 1999 with the Panoz factory prototype effort, was at 1:15.313 in the Corvette he will share with Johnny O’Connell. Coincidentally, the Georgia driver also was Magnussen’s teammate in the Panoz eight years ago.
Magnussen was 0.048 seconds ahead of Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 Corvette he will share with Olivier Beretta. The two are the class championship leaders and sat 0.187 seconds in front of a third Corvette, the No. 33 entry of Andy Pilgrim and local hero Ron Fellows.
In GT2, Jaime Melo posted the best time at 1:18.820 in Risi Competizione’s No. 62 Ferrari F430 GT. The Brazilian driver is teaming with Mika Salo, and they own the class championship lead heading into Sunday’s race. Melo was nearly 0.4 ahead of the second-place car in the championship, the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
Jörg Bergmeister, who is teaming with Johannes van Overbeek, sat a tenth of a second ahead of Tafel Racing’s Porsche of Wolf Henzler and Robin Liddell. The Porsches looked particularly strong in the early going as they try to tighten the class championship fight.
The lone red flag period came early when Adrian Fernandez in the Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Acura-powered Lola went off course at the exit of Turn 9. Fernandez had reported some oversteer before the crash into the right-side tire wall. The team said most of the damage was cosmetic and expected to have the car repaired in time for Saturday morning’s first practice at 10:10 a.m.
The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Mobil 1 presents Grand Prix of Mosport from Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. The race will start at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 26 and will be broadcast live on SPEED. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA’s Live Timing and Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.