Pagenaud keeps de Ferran team on top in Utah
Simon Pagenaud kept de Ferran Motorsports at the top of the timing sheets at the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by the Grand and Little Hotels. The youngest of Acura’s eight American Le Mans Series drivers went quickest in the first official practice session Saturday morning at Miller Motorsports Park with a lap of 1:32.639 (18.447 mph).
The young Frenchman is debuting in the Series this weekend with team owner and racing legend Gil de Ferran with the two piloting the No. 66 Acura ARX-01b. Pagenaud’s time on his final lap of the session and knocked Lowe’s Fernandez Racing’s Adrian Fernandez from the top spot. It gave Acura the first two positions at the end of the session with Fernandez turning a lap of 1:32.791 (118.253 mph). He will drive with Luis Diaz.
Acura is searching for its second straight LMP2 victory and first overall in the American Le Mans Series. Pagenaud gave it a leg up on Audi, which saw Frank Biela post the best LMP1 time and third overall. The German turned in a lap of 1:33.099 (117.862 mph) in the first of Audi Sport North America’s Audi R10 TDIs. Biela and Emanuele Pirro will try to replicate their 2006 overall victory in Utah, the first race for the American Le Mans Series at Miller Motorsports Park.
Penske Racing’s Sascha Maassen was third in P2 and fourth overall in the Porsche RS Spyder he will share with Patrick Long. Maassen, who won overall last year with Ryan Briscoe, was at 1:33.296 (117.613 mph).
Back in LMP1, Marco Werner’s 1:34.378 (116.264 mph) was second in class for Audi but ninth overall in the R10 TDI he will share with Lucas Luhr. The duo has won the last two overall races in the Series. Intersport Racing’s Jon Field was third in P1 at 1:36.655 (113.525 mph).
Corvette Racing’s No. 3 Corvette C6.R was fastest again in GT1, just as it was yesterday. Johnny O’Connell’s time of 1:44.920 (104.583 mph) was good enough for a 0.426-second gap back to the sister car of Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin.
O’Connell and Jan Magnussen have won two of the first three races in GT1 and lead the class championship.
Patrick Pilet showed he is a quick learner by leading the GT2 field for Flying Lizard Motorsports. The French factory driver for Porsche set a time of 1:47.990 (101.609 mph) in the team’s No. 46 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR that he will drive with Johannes van Overbeek. He was 0.045 seconds better than Tafel Racing’s Dirk Mueller in the No. 71 Ferrari F430 GT, a car he has driven to the last two class victories with by teaming with Dominik Farnbacher.
Marc Basseng was third in class for Farnbacher Loles Racing in its Porsche with a lap of 1:48.237 (101.378 mph). Porsche held three of the top four spots in its season-long battle with Ferrari.