Franck Montagny made quite a splash in his first session of American Le Mans Series competition by turning in the best time of Friday morning’s hour-long practice at Lime Rock Park for the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix. The Frenchman turned in a lap of 48.504 (111.331 mph) in Andretti Green Racing’s Acura ARX-01b.
Montagny tested the Acura for the first time Tuesday at Mid-Ohio. A freshly paved, reconfigured track helped balance the learning curve but the Formula 1 talent didn’t appear to need much help. He will drive this weekend with American phenom Marco Andretti, who will see Lime Rock for the first time Saturday morning.
Three of Acura’s four entries were in the top four, which was populated exclusively by LMP2 entries. David Brabham was second for Patr¢n Highcroft Racing, based about an hour away, in the Acura he will share with Scott Sharp. Brabham’s time of 48.623 (111.059 mph) was almost a full half second better than Penske Racing’s Porsche RS Spyder of Patrick Long and Sascha Maassen with Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud another 0.211 seconds back for Acura.
Dindo Capello, making his first American Le Mans Series start since Sebring, was quickest in LMP1 for Audi and fifth overall in the diesel-powered R10 TDI that he will share with Emanuele Pirro. Capello won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the third time in his career earlier this month with Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen.
A two-time Series driving champion, Capello’s time of 49.526 (109.034 mph) was 0.03 seconds ahead of the sister Audi of Marco Werner and Lucas Luhr. Intersport Racing’s Lola-AER was third in class.
In GT1, Oliver Gavin beat out Corvette Racing teammate Johnny O’Connell for the top spot with a time of 54.858 (98.454 mph) in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R that he will drive with Olivier Beretta. After O’Connell and Jan Magnussen came Bell Motorsports’ Aston Martin DBR9, making its first start since a heavy crash at St. Petersburg in early April. The car driven by Terry Borcheller and Chapman Ducote was at 57.765 (93.482 mph).
Dirk Werner was the fastest GT2 driver for Farnbacher Loles Racing, also based in nearby Danbury. The Porsche 911 GT3 RSR toured the track in 55.805 (96.766 mph) as Porsche held the top three spots in class. Two of Flying Lizard Motorsports three 911s sat second and third with Jörg Bergmeister and Wolf Henzler putting in a time of 56.107 (96.245 mph), good enough for a 0.003-second advantage over the sister car of Patrick Pilet and Johannes van Overbeek.
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