Mazda leads Friday practice at Mazda Raceway

Guy Smith

Guy Smith put Mazda power out front at its home track with the fastest time in Friday’s first official practice session for the American Le Mans Series Monterey presented by Patr¢n. Dyson Racing’s English ace posted a best lap of 1:14.335 (108.385 mph) in the Lola-Mazda coupe that he will drive with Chris Dyson and Andy Meyrick.

Smith was 0.452 seconds quicker than Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s Simon Pagenaud, a winner here last year with Gil de Ferran. The young Frenchman, driving PHR’s HPD ARX-01c with David Brabham and Marino Franchitti, was 0.315 seconds better than Muscle Milk Team CytoSport’s Klaus Graf. The German, teaming with Memo Gidley and Sascha Maassen, was quickest in Thursday’s test session.

In LMPC, Johnny Mowlem was quickest for PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports with a lap of 1:19.976 (100.740 mph) in the ORECA FLM09 that he will drive with Tom Papadopolous and Ryan Lewis. The British pilot, a GT class winner at the track in 1999, was nearly a full second clear of Burt Frisselle in one of Level 5 Motorsports’ two entries. Kyle Marcelli was another 0.14 seconds back in Genoa Racing’s entry.

The GT class was a tight battle again. Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Jörg Bergmeister went quickest at 1:23.980 (95.937 mph) in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR that he will drive with Patrick Long. Extreme Speed Motorsports’ Johannes van Overbeek was second at 1:24.120 (95.777 mph) in the Ferrari F430 GT that he will drive with Scott Sharp. BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team’s Joey Hand was next up, only 0.064 seconds behind Sharp in the E85-powered BMW M3 GT that he will drive with Dirk Mueller.

Andy Lally, the GT Challenge pole-winner at Long Beach last month, went quickest in class Friday for TRG. His best lap of 1:28.054 (91.948 mph) in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup he’ll drive with Rene Villeneuve and Henri Richard was 0.336 seconds better than Bryce Miller’s Orbit Racing Porsche. Terry Borcheller was another 0.33 seconds back in GMG Racing’s entry.

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