Audi strong in early going
Eager to keep its unbeaten streak at Road Atlanta, Audi held the top spot in testing Wednesday at Road Atlanta for Petit Le Mans Powered by the Totally New MAZDA6. The No. 2 Audi R10 TDI of Marco Werner and Lucas Luhr set the fastest time in a two-hour session, a 1:07.091 (136.292 mph) for the American Le Mans Series’ newly crowned LMP1 champions.
The time was a staggering 1.815 seconds under Werner’s record-setting time in qualifying for last year’s 1,000-mile/10-hour classic. The 10 fastest cars were under the existing record, which is in considerable danger of falling Friday in qualifying.
What’s more, the top six cars were within 0.94 seconds of each other. Peugeot’s diesel-powered factory 908 was second quickest at 1:07.275 (135.920 mph). Stephane Sarrazin, Nic Minassian and Christian Klien will drive the closed-top prototype.
Andretti Green Racing’s Acura ARX-01b of Franck Montagny, Marco Andretti and Tony Kanaan was third overall and first in LMP2. The car posted a fast time of 1:07.601 (135.264 mph) after winning overall in the last race in Detroit. Team LNT’s Zytek 07S of Danny Watts and Olivier Pla was fourth overall and second in P1, followed by a pair of Penske Porsche RS Spyders. LMP2 championship leaders Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas were second in P2 at 1:07.911 (134.647 mph).
Penske’s second Porsche of open-wheel stars Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves was third in P2 at 1:08.031 (134.409 mph).
Corvette Racing’s No. 4 Corvette C6.R of Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Max Papis went quickest in GT1 at 1:16.867 (118.959 mph). The trio was 0.095 seconds quicker than the sister Corvette of Jan Magnussen, Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell.
Magnussen and O’Connell lead the class championship by 23 points over Beretta and Gavin. There are 55 points remaining over the final two events with 30 points going to Petit Le Mans winners.
Farnbacher Loles Racing’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR was the quickest GT2 entry of the day. The car of Dirk Werner, Bryce Miller and Joerg Hardt posted a time of 1:19.898 (114.446 mph) for a 0.608-second advantage over Risi Competizione’s Ferrari F430 GT of Jaime Melo, Mika Salo and Gianmaria Bruni.
The European JMB Racing Ferrari of Ben Aucott, Pierre Kaffer and Stephane Daoudi was third in class at 1:20.509 (113.577 mph).
Petit Le Mans powered by the Totally New MAZDA6 is the 10th round of the 2008 American Le Mans Series. The 1,000-mile/10-hour race is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. Saturday, October 4 from Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. SPEED will televise the race live with online video available from 1 to 6:30 p.m. ET on americanlemans.com. XM Satellite Radio will air live race coverage throughout the day on XM Channel 166. Live coverage from American Le Mans Radio will be available at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA’s Live Timing & Scoring.