Dumas again puts Audi on top in testing for Petit LeMans
For the second time in three days of testing, Audi Sport’s Romain Dumas set the fastest lap of the day ahead of Saturday’s 14th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda. The Frenchman set a lap of 1:09.550 (131.474 mph) in Wednesday’s two-hour session at Road Atlanta in the Audi R18 that he will share with Timo Bernhard and Marcel Faessler.
|Dumas again fast in the Audi R18|
A total of 55 cars posted times in the final day of testing prior to official practices for the 2011 finale of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n. The top four diesel-powered cars – two Audis and two of Peugeot Team Total’s Peugeot 908s – were within 0.484 seconds around the 2.54-mile circuit.
“The car is still quite good,” Dumas said. “We tried a couple of different settings but it is tough to get feedback. It is very difficult to make a judgment with so many cars on the track. The race will be extremely challenging. The traffic will make you take a lot more risks now than in previous years.”
Peugeot’s Franck Montagny was second quickest at 1:09.641 (131.302 mph) in the Peugeot 908 that he will share with Stephane Sarrazin and Alexander Wurz. The second Audi of Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish was third at 1:09.875 (130.862 mph); Kristensen set the time.
Jaime Melo was the quickest GTE Pro driver for Risi Competizione and Ferrari. Melo – driving Risi’s Ferrari F458 Italia with Raphael Matos and Toni Vilander – posted a time of 1:20.102 (114.154 mph) for a scant 0.029-second gap back to Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin. Close margins were the theme throughout the class; the top nine cars were within 0.839 seconds.
The Corvette C6.R, also driven by Richard Westbrook and Jan Magnussen, set a best lap of 1:20.131 (114.113 mph). Next up was AF Corse’s Ferrari of Gianmaria Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer at 1:20.269 (113.917 mph).
Signatech Nissan’s Jean-Karl Vernay set the fastest LMP2 time at 1:13.852 (123.815 mph) in the Nissan-powered ORECA 03 that he will drive with Franck Mailleux and Lucas Ordonez. The young Frenchman was 0.190 seconds quicker than Level 5 Motorsports’ Christophe Bouchut in his HPD ARX-01g; he is sharing the car with Joao Barbosa and Scott Tucker.
The second Level 5 HPD of Luis Diaz, Marino Franchitti and Tucker was third in P2 at 1:14.719 (122.379 mph).
Gunnar Jeannette led a 1-2 showing for CORE autosport in LMP Challenge with a lap of 1:17.298 (118.295 mph) in the ORECA FLM09. Jeannette, teaming with Ricardo Gonzalez and Rudy Junco, was just 0.297 seconds quicker than Ryan Dalziel in the sister CORE entry. Dalziel will drive with Jon Bennett and Frankie Montecalvo.
Intersport Racing’s Kyle Marcelli was third-fastest in LMPC with a lap of 1:18.126 (117.042 mph). He will drive with Tomy Drissi, Chapman Ducote and David Ducote.
In GTE Am, Rui Aguas went quickest for AF Corse in the Ferrari F430 GT he will drive with Justin Bell and Rob Kauffman at 1:21.196 (112.616 mph). He was 0.872 seconds ahead of another Ferrari – the Krohn Racing entry of Nic Jonsson, Tracy Krohn and Michele Rugalo. Larbre Competition’s Corvette C6.R of Patrick Bornhauser, Julien Canal and Gabriele Gardal was third at 1:23.550 (109.443 mph).
Black Swan Racing’s Jeroen Bleekemolen set the pace in GT Challenge with a lap of 1:25.772 (106.608 mph) in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup that he will drive with Sebastiaan Bleekemolen and Tim Pappas. Leh Keen was second in class for Alex Job Racing at 1:26.339 (105.908 mph); he will team with Bill Sweedler and Brian Wong.
TRG’s Dion von Moltke was third-quickest at 1:26.392 (105.843 mph). He will drive with Ben Keating and Jim Norman.
Thursday’s first practice session is set for 10 a.m. ET.
The 14th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda is set for a 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 1 from Road Atlanta. The race will air on ABC at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 2. Live coverage will be available in the U.S. on ESPN3 or outside the U.S. on americanlemans.com. Ticket and schedule information is available on the ALMS schedule page.
Justin Bell, AF Corse
Ferrari F430 GT (GTE Am)
“I went out Monday for the first time since Daytona in 2008. These cars are in another league; they are so fast. The closing rates of the Audis and Peugeots is astonishing. It’s like you’re stopped in traffic and they go flying by you on a scooter.”
Dirk Werner, BMW Team RLL
BMW M3 GT (GTE Pro)
“The traffic is bad in some places. We didn’t test Sunday or Monday, so today was a time for us to work on setups and seeing how the track feels with all the cars around.”