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Laguna Seca: Pagenaud tops Friday morning practice
Simon Pagenaud
Simon Pagenaud must be a quick study. The young Frenchman posted the fastest time in Friday’s first official practice session for the Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patr¢n at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, site of the American Le Mans Series’ season finale. Pagenaud’s time of 1:11.967 (111.953 mph) in de Ferran Motorsports’ Acura ARX-01b headed a field that saw four LMP2 cars head the timesheet.

Pagenaud has only driven at the circuit in a Champ Car test session last spring. His teammate, team owner Gil de Ferran, has a lengthy history at the circuit including a CART victory in 1995.

Pagenaud was 0.297 seconds better than Penske Motorsports’ Ryan Briscoe in the Porsche RS Spyder that he will share with Helio Castroneves. The duo won the last LMP2 round at Petit Le Mans two weeks ago. Next in line was Adrian Fernandez in his Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Acura with a lap of 1:12.734 (110.771 mph). He will drive with Luis Diaz.

Lucas Luhr was the fastest driver in LMP1 and fourth overall. His lap of 1:12.945 (110.450 mph) in the Audi R10 TDI that he is driving with Marco Werner was 1.224 seconds quicker than the second Audi of Emanuele Pirro and Series newcomer Christijan Albers.

Corsa Motorsports’ Zytek 07S was third fastest in P1. Stefan Johansson recorded the car’s best time at 1:14.454 (108.212 mph).

Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin posted the best time in GT1 with a lap of 120.350 (100.271 mph) in the Corvette C6.R that he will drive with Olivier Beretta. The pairing are shooting to repeat their victory from last season and salvage a year that saw their three-year reign as class champions end.

Newly crowned class title-winners Jan Magnussen and Johnny O’Connell were second, only 0.96 seconds behind in their Corvette.

Tafel Racing’s Dominik Farnbacher went quickest in GT2 for Tafel Racing. The young German posted a lap of 1:23.798 (96.145 mph) in the Ferrari F430 GT that he will drive with Dirk Mueller for a 0.259-second gap back to the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Jörg Bergmeister and Wolf Henzler. The duo already has claimed the class drivers title.

Next up was JMB Racing’s Ferrari F430 GT of Pierre Kaffer and Ben Aucott at 1:24.137 (95.758 mph).

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