It was a wet and wild Friday here at Long Beach in advance of the American Le Mans Series at Long Beach race. Torrential rain started at seven am–just in time for the only ALMS practice session of the race weekend-and continued periodically throughout the day. The scheduled two hour and 15 minute morning session was reduced to less than an hour with the cars parked in pit lane under tarps and teams huddled under pit awnings in the heavy rain.
Things were looking more promising by this evening’s qualifying session, until the rain returned again just minutes into the session. In the No. 44, Marco Holzer set the sixth fastest GT time in the few laps on track before the session was red-flagged and Patrick Long was eighth in the No. 45. Because the session did not run the minimum required time, and the following sessions were cancelled, qualifying was abandoned and starting positions will be based on championship points. The No. 44 will start sixth on the GT grid and the No. 45 tenth.
Long commented “That was one of the strangest qualifying sessions that I’ve ever participated in. We all headed out intent on getting the most out of the first laps because the weather was so iffy and sure enough, it started drizzling on the outlap. We started with a dry line but there were still wet sections on the track. Then the skies opened up and it was like driving on black ice. Cars started going off left and right, and that was the end of the session.”
Holzer added, “Today was my first run at this circuit. I didn’t get much seat time this morning, so I was hoping for a dry qualifying session. When we started for qualifying, most of the track was dry but there was a lot of standing water. I had just started to get heat into the tires when it started to rain again. The bit of dry running that I had was great though – I really like the track and am excited about the race tomorrow.”
The American Le Mans Series at Long Beach race gets the green flag Saturday April 14 at 4:30 pm PT. Porsche factory drivers Joerg Bergmeister and Long return in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR and factory driver Holzer rejoins Seth Neiman in the No. 44 sister Porsche. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com. In-car video will also be available live on www.americanlemans.com. The race is also broadcast live on MotorsTV in Europe, Rogers Sportsnet in Canada and on Fox Sports Middle East and Latin America. Read the team’s race blog and listen to the team radio live during the race. Details at www.lizardms.com.
Photos: © 2012 Darren Pierson / DPerceptions
- Flying Lizard Motorsports