Laguna Seca: Bernhard tops Thursday practice
On a weekend where Roger Penske will be named a Legend of Laguna Seca, Penske Racing set the fastest time in a two-hour test for this weekend’s Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patr¢n. Timo Bernhard’s time of 1:11.248 (113.081 mph) set the pace for Porsche and its Porsche RS Spyder at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
|Timo Bernhard drops down the Corkscrew|
Bernhard, who clinched his second straight LMP2 championship with Romain Dumas two weeks ago at Road Atlanta, was 0.476 seconds better than Tony Kanaan in Andretti Green Racing’s Acura ARX-01b. Kanaan, the 2004 IndyCar champion, will team with Franck Montagny as Acura hopes to chase down Porsche in the class manufacturer championship.
Acura must sweep the class podium, as it did at Detroit in late August, to overtake reigning champion Porsche.
LMP2 entries held the top three positions overall with Penske’s Ryan Briscoe taking the third position with a lap of 1:12.054 (111.816 mph).
Marco Werner went quickest for Audi Sport North America and fastest in LMP1. His time of 1:12.446 (111.211 mph) in the Audi R10 TDI that he is sharing with fellow class champion Lucas Luhr was 0.711 seconds clear of the sister Audi of Emanuele Pirro and newcomer Christijan Albers.
Next up in class was Intersport Racing’s Ryan Lewis with a lap of 1:14.823 (107.678 mph) in a Lola B06/10-AER that he will drive with Jon Field and Richard Berry.
In GT1, Jan Magnussen was the quickest driver in the Corvette Racing stable. His lap of 1:20.571 (99.996 mph) in the Corvette C6.R that he will drive with Johnny O’Connell was good enough for a slim 0.186-second advantage over Oliver Gavin.
Magnussen and O’Connell are trying to tie a Series record with their ninth win of the season. They already have unseated Gavin and Olivier Beretta as class champions.
Dirk Werner was the fastest GT2 driver in Farnbacher Loles Racing’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Werner set a time of 1:23.781 (96.165 mph) in the car that he will share with Bryce Miller as they look for their second class win of the season.
|Dirk Werner topped GT2 class|
Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Wolf Henzler was 0.109 seconds behind Werner in the Porsche that he will share with Jörg Bergmeister. The pair already has clinched the class driver championship, and the goal Saturday is to help Porsche reclaim the manufacturer’s title from Ferrari. A Porsche entry needs to finish sixth or better to clinch.
Speaking of Ferrari, Risi Competizione’s Jaime Melo was third in class with a lap of 1:23.919 (96.007 mph). He and Mika Salo are the defending race winners in class.