Sounds like the new GT3 RSR is doing quite well this year. This is the third Lizard Pole in a row! With a time of 1:47:135, Wolf Henzler put the Flying Lizard No. 45 Porsche on the pole for Sunday’s ALMS Larry H. Miller Utah Grand Prix, setting a new GT2 qualifying lap record for the track. It is Henzler’s second pole this season and the third pole in a row for the Lizard team. In the No. 46 Porsche, teammate Patrick Pilet had the third-fastest time of the session and in the No. 44 Porsche, Seth Neiman used the session for final setup, finishing 14th. (The No. 44 would have started from the rear of the grid regardless of qualifying position because co-driver Darren Law was not able to participate in any of the official practice sessions due to a schedule conflict. Law will be here for Sunday’s warmup and race.)
It was a nailbiter finish to the GT2 qualifying session. The No. 45 and the No. 46 Porsches both set fast times mid-session, with the No. 45 in P1 and the No. 46 in P2 with just a few minutes left in the session. With a half-second lead, the No. 45 pitted and the No. 46, the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Porsche and the No. 62 Risi Ferrari all stayed out. Then the No 46 and the No. 87 both pitted, with the No. 46 still in P2. The No. 62 Risi Ferrari stayed out, and it came down to the last lap, in which Jaime Melo clocked an identical time to Henzler. But according to the series’ rules, in the case of identical fastest lap times, the first car to set the time gets the pole.
Henzler commented on the session, “Going into my first timed lap, I thought the tires were already there so I pushed hard, braking late into Turn 1 and locking the front wheels. I went off track but luckily not into the gravel, so I was able to come back immediately, but then I had some vibration in the front, and no grip because the tires were dirty. Over the next two laps, the rear tires came in, but the front tires were still dirty so I had some understeer. But it kept getting better and the vibration decreased. I did a cool-down lap then because I got to close to a slower car. Then I started pushing again and set my fastest lap time. When I came into the pits, there were still a few minutes left in the session, and the No. 46, No. 87 and No. 62 were still out. It all came down to Jaime Melo’s last lap in the No. 62: he was having a good run and we knew it would be very close and he crossed the finish line with the exact same time, but since I did my time first, I will be on the pole. It’s a great start to the weekend – thank you to the crew who put together such a fast car for us for the race.”
Teammate Pilet added, “Our Porsche was good today, but it was a tough session for me. I made some mistakes in the session: sometimes I pushed too much on the throttle, and then I lost too much time, and had to make up my time with the tires too hot and less grip. But I was able to get a fast time at the end. I really like this track, it’s like many of the European tracks I’m used to: really smooth with very long, fast corners. It should be a great race tomorrow!”
The race starts at 12 pm Pacific Time, Sunday, May 18, 2008. It will be broadcast live on SpeedTV in North America and MotorsTV in Europe. Lizards will broadcast their team radio live during the race. For details see www.lizardms.com.