At the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Flying Lizard Motorsports, Porsche works driver Patrick Long (USA) secured the third quickest time in qualifying on the new street circuit of Baltimore – but still has to take up round seven of the American Le Mans Series on Saturday from the back of the GT field. The reason: In one of his fast laps, he bumped a Ferrari which was blocking the racing line in front of him in first gear on a cool-down lap. Due to this incident, the race steward decided to exclude both drivers from the qualifying.
“You can’t be running in first gear on the racing line in a qualifying session that lasts only 15 minutes. It’s simply not fair to the others when you block the racing line if you’re not going to go at racing speed,” said Patrick Long. His works driver colleague Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), who shares driving duties in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, said: “It’s a shame to be excluded. In the short time we were out on the track today our pace was improving from lap to lap and Patrick’s third quickest time is proof that we are well prepared for the race. Now we have to be patient and keep out of trouble so that we can push through the field again. The track is very bumpy and there are only a few overtaking possibilities. It’s going to be very difficult.”
After Wolf Henzler (Germany) posted the quickest time in free practice with his Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, the Porsche works driver and Mid-Ohio winner secured the seventh grid spot in qualifying. Because of the disqualifications, he now takes up the race in the US state of Maryland from the third row with his teammate Bryan Sellers (USA). Bryce Miller (USA), who teams up with Sascha Maassen (Germany), drove the eighth quickest time in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR run by Paul Miller Racing.
“From the very first lap that we drove in Baltimore, we were very pleased with our car,” commented Wolf Henzler. “Unfortunately, we got stuck twice in qualifying behind a GTC car which is a good nine seconds slower than us, and the Ferrari that Patrick experienced problems with also prevented us from turning a quick lap. Still if we manage to overtake some cars despite the heavy traffic our chances look good for the race. “
The race takes off on Saturday at 16.30 hrs local time (22.30 hrs CEST) and is broadcast live on www.americanlemans.com/live.
1. Dirk Werner, BMW M3 GT, 1:31.362 minutes
2. Jan Magnussen, Chevrolet Corvette, + 0.588 seconds
3. Joey Hand, BMW M3 GT, + 0.648
4. Tommy Milner, Chevrolet Corvette, + 0.862
5. Wolf Henzler, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 1.410
6. Johannes van Overbeek, Ferrari F458 Italia, + 2.799
8. Bryce Miller, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 3.247
1. Jeroen Bleekemolen, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:36.794 minutes