Audi tops opening practice for Petit LeMans
Marcel Fässler set the fastest time for Audi Sport in the first official practice session for Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA 2 on Friday. The Swiss factory driver turned in a lap of 1:09.579 (131.419 mph) in the Audi R15 TDI that he is sharing with Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer. Fässler is the only one in the trio who has raced at Road Atlanta – albeit in a GT2 Corvette last year.
Fässler went just 0.059 seconds quicker than Peugeot’s Marc Gene, driving one of the factory’s two Peugeot 908 HDi with Alexander Wurz and Anthony Davidson. Audi’s second entry of Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish sat third thanks to Capello’s lap of 1:10.735 (129.271 mph).
A great deal of the one-hour session was on a wet circuit thanks to early-morning showers. Twenty-seven of the 45 cars set times with the full field set to go out in what looks like a drier afternoon session starting at 2:35 p.m.
Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s Simon Pagenaud was the quickest LMP2 driver with a lap of 1:11.759 (127.427 mph) in the HPD ARX-01c that he will drive with David Brabham and Marino Franchitti. PHR can wrap up the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n’s LMP championship by completing 70 percent of Saturday’s race. The team also has never won at Road Atlanta.
Andy Meyrick was second-quickest for Dyson Racing at 1:14.225 (123.193 mph). He will team with Chris Dyson and Guy Smith in the team’s Mazda-powered Lola coupe. Next up in class was Oak Racing’s Pescarolo-Judd with Patrice Lafargue (1:17.402 and 118.136 mph), Jacques Nicolet and Frederick Da Rocha.
Oliver Gavin led Corvette Racing’s 1-2 showing in GT2 with a lap of 1:21.412 (112.318 mph) in the Corvette C6.R that he will drive with Jan Magnussen and Emmanuel Collard. The Briton was just 0.155 seconds ahead of Olivier Beretta in the sister car that he is sharing with Johnny O’Connell and Antonio Garcia. The first of BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team’s BMW M3 GTs of Andy Priaulx, Joey Hand and Dirk Müller sat third with Priaulx’s lap of 1:21.736 (111.872 mph).
The Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid ranked fifth among the GT2 runners but is course not being classified for the race. Romain Dumas set the car’s quickest time 1:22.684 (110.590 mph).
Andy Lally was fastest in GT Challenge for the second straight day. He set a time of 1:25.795 (106.580 mph) in TRG’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry that he is driving with Duncan Ende and Henri Richard. The Georgia driver was 1.14 seconds clear of Lawson Aschenbach in Velox Racing’s Porsche; he will drive with Jerry Vento and Shane Lewis.
In LMPC, Kyle Marcelli set a lap of 1:19.954 (114.336 mph) in Intersport Racing’s ORECA FLM09. It was the only car to go out during the session.