Petit: Audi tops practice 3
Audi moved back into the top two spots atop the time charts in a two-hour night practice for Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Teams moved their focus to race setups and getting their driver rosters eligible to drive in darkness during Saturday’s 1,000-mile endurance classic.
Allan McNish was the quickest driver for Audi in the No. 1 diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI he is sharing with Dindo Capello. The Scot’s fastest lap was a 1:09.467, again under his qualifying record of 1:10.379 set in 2000. The freshly repaved surface stayed fast in darkness, just as it has all week.
Marco Werner was 0.38 seconds behind McNish in the No. 2 sister car he is sharing with Emanuele Pirro as the Audis began to widen the gap to the LMP2 Porsches.
Speaking of which, Romain Dumas was quickest in class for Penske Racing at 1:10.524. Dumas, splitting time with Timo Bernhard and Patrick Long, held a 0.152-second gap to the other Penske car of Sascha Maassen, Ryan Briscoe and Emmanuel Collard. The Lowe’s Fernandez Racing entry led the Acura contingent with a 1:11.642. The Acura-powered Lola of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz sat third in P2 and fifth overall.
The Corvette-Maserati battle in GT1 continued to be tight with Corvette Racing’s lead Corvette C6.R, paced by Oliver Gavin, turning in a class-best lap of 1:17.879. The car, which also will be driven by Olivier Beretta and Max Papis, was 0.229 seconds ahead of the No. 3 car with drivers Johnny O’Connell, Jan Magnussen and Ron Fellows. The No. 27 Lista Doran Racing Maserati of Andrea Bertolini, Didier Theys and Fredy Leinhard was third at 1:17.958.
In GT2, Risi Competizione’s No. 62 Ferrari F430 GT kept its hold on the top spot in class. The car of Johnny Mowlem, Jaime Melo and Mika Salo turned a lap of 1:21.617, courtesy of Melo. Three manufacturers were part of the top three with the No. 71 Tafel Racing Porsche of Wolf Henzler and Dominik Farnbacher second at 1:21.628. The Panoz Esperante GTLM of Panoz Team PTG drivers Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand and Tom Kimber-Smith was third at 1:21.768.
Friday’s first practice session is set for 9:30 a.m. ET with qualifying scheduled for 2:50 p.m.