Peugeot fires back
Peugeot Sport began flexing its muscles Thursday morning with the top two spots during the day’s first official practice session for Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6. Stephane Sarrazin was the quickest driver around Road Atlanta with a lap of 1:08.138 in the diesel-powered Peugeot 908 HDi that he will drive with Franck Montagny.
Sarrazin, the first driver in history to win three consecutive pole positions at Le Mans, was 0.904 seconds better than Nic Minassian in the second Peugeot. Minassian, a former Petit Le Mans pole-winner, is driving with Pedro Lamy. Peugeot is at Road Atlanta for the second straight season but first as Le Mans champion.
Past IndyCar and Indy 500 champion Scott Dixon was third in de Ferran Motorsports’ Acura ARX-02a. Dixon, who will drive with team owner Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud, turned a lap of 1:09.235 on his next-to-last lap in the session to move ahead of Audi Sport Team Joest’s two Audi R15 TDIs.
Audi has never lost at Petit Le Mans since debuting at the event in 2000.
Dyson Racing was quickest in LMP2 for the second consecutive session. Guy Smith’s best lap of 1:11.609 in the Mazda-powered Lola B09/86 coupe that he is driving with Chris Dyson sat 0.365 seconds ahead of Luis Diaz in Lowe’s Fernandez Racing’s Acura ARX-01b.
Diaz and teammate Adrian Fernandez clinched the class driver championship at Mosport last month. Their car was 0.695 seconds ahead of Sascha Maassen in Team Cytosport’s Porsche RS Spyder; Klaus Graf and team owner Greg Pickett also will drive.
In GT2, BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team’s Dirk Müller set the fastest time of the session with a lap of 1:20.975 in the BMW M3 that he will drive with Tommy Milner and Jörg Müller, who was quickest in Wednesday’s test session.
Dirk Müller went 0.523 seconds faster than Jörg Bergmeister in the first of Flying Lizard Motorsports’ two Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs. Bergmeister, driving with Patrick Long, was a scant 0.097 seconds better than Risi Competizione’s Jaime Melo in the team’s Ferrari F430 GT. Melo, Pierre Kaffer and Jaime Melo are together for the first time since winning the class championship at Le Mans in June for Risi.
The next practice session is scheduled for 3:20 p.m. ET.