ALMS UTAH: Field puts Intersport on top in morning practice Jon Field and Intersport Racing flexed their muscle again at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday morning with the fastest lap of the first official practice for the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix. Field’s time of 1:35.961 in the Intersport Lola B06/10-AER put him 0.834 seconds clear of Dyson Racing’s Guy Smith.
Field put Intersport in a good position for the start of the second half of the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n championship. The Lola wowed the Utah crowd in 2008 when Field went from ninth to second after one turn and led several laps early before finishing second in class.
Field will drive with son Clint. Lolas held the top two position thanks to Smith’s lap in the Dyson Mazda-powered coupe. He will drive with Chris Dyson. Muscle Milk Team CytoSport’s Porsche RS Spyder of Greg Pickett and Klaus Graf sat third at 1:37.395.
After posting the quickest LMP Challenge time in Friday’s test session, Gunnar Jeannette also went fastest in class Saturday morning in the Green Earth Team Gunnar ORECA FLM09. He set a lap of 1:44.161 on his final lap in the car he will drive with Christian Zugel.
Level 5 Motorsports’ two FLM09s were second and third. Andy Wallace was less than 0.6 seconds behind Jeannette, and Christophe Bouchut was a further 0.01 seconds back.
Risi Competizione’s Gimmi Bruni was the fastest GT driver in the Ferrari F430 GT that he will share with Jaime Melo. Bruni’s lap of 1:47.943 was less than 0.7 seconds better than Joey Hand in the first of BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team’s BMW M3s; he’ll drive with Dirk Mueller. Flying Lizard Motorsports and Porsche sat third with Jörg Bergmeister’s lap of 1:48.704.
Orbit Racing’s Bryce Miller was quickest in GT Challenge for the second straight session. He set a lap of 1:54.564 in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car that he will drive with Luke Hines. Alex Job Racing’s Butch Leitzinger and Black Swan Racing’s Jeroen Bleekemolen were within 0.7 seconds.
Team Falken Tire suffered a major setback when its Porsche 911 GT3 RSR went up in flames at the rear end only a few minutes into the session. Bryan Sellers made it safely out of the car but the team was facing substantial work to rebuild the rear end.
“There was no warning at all. I didn't hear a noise or anything,” Sellers said. “I saw some smoke coming from the engine bay and it started coming forward. Fortunately I was able to jump into pitlane and shut the car off. It's such a terrible thing to see. It's going to be a lot of work for the guys to do.”
The problem was either a fuel line or electrical problem that ignited the fuel. Porsche believed the car could be ready for qualifying. New engine, new engine mounts will be done, and the chassis and engine bay were intact. If the team doesn’t make it out for qualifying, it should be out ready for the race, starting from the back of the field.
Qualifying set for 2:50 p.m. MT later today. Live video coverage of qualifying will be available on americanlemans.com