The idea that Andretti Green Racing’s Franck Montagny is growing more and more comfortable behind the wheel of a sports car should be a bit frightening to the rest of the American Le Mans Series paddock. He was the fastest driver in Thursday’s test session for the Acura Sports Car Challenge with a lap of 1:08.827 (118.105 mph) at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Montagny will drive this week with Raphael Matos in AGR’s Acura ARX-01b. The Frenchman is a quick study having driven the LMP2 car for the first time last week at Mid-Ohio, just days before his first Series race at Lime Rock Park. And while the familiarity with the circuit helps, more and more laps in the Acura are even more beneficial.
“As you spend more time in the car, you understand the team better and they understand you better,” said Montagny, who was fifth overall and fourth in class in his Series debut last weekend at Lime Rock with Marco Andretti. “I am still not completely happy with the car. We made a lot of damper and spring adjustments today and that seemed to help.”
The Formula 1 talent’s time was 0.266 seconds quicker than Audi Sport North America’s Dindo Capello in the Audi R10 TDI that he will share with Emanuele Pirro, Capello was the fastest LMP1 driver on the day. Next was Gil de Ferran in De Ferran Motorsports Acura at 1:09.652 (116.706 mph), second in P2. He was 0.217 seconds ahead of Penske Racing’s Timo Bernhard, the quickest driver in a Porsche RS Spyder.
Audi’s Marco Werner was second in P1 and fifth overall in the R10 TDI that he will drive with Lucas Luhr. Werner, who set a lap of 1:09.964 (116.185 mph), leads the P1 championship with his teammate.
Jan Magnussen went quickest in GT1 for Corvette Racing. The Dane turned in a lap of 1:18.040 (104.162 mph) in the Corvette C6.R that he will share with Johnny O’Connell. The pairing has won four of five races this season and enter Mid-Ohio with the class title lead.
Magnussen was nearly a second ahead of teammate Olivier Beretta in the sister factory Corvette. Beretta’s best time was 1:18.976 (102.927 mph) in the car that he will share with Oliver Gavin.
Just as it was in qualifying at Lime Rock, Farnbacher Loles Racing was quickest in GT2. Richard Westbrook’s lap of 1:20.645 (100.797 mph) barely put Porsche ahead in its battle with Ferrari. Tafel Racing’s Dirk Mueller was second in class in the Ferrari F430 GT that he will drive with Dominik Farnbacher.
Mueller’s time of 1:21.111 (100.218 mph) was 0.166 seconds better than Jaime Melo for Risi Competizione. Melo and fellow Le Mans class winner Mika Salo will drive the lead Risi Ferrari F430 GT.
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