- Flying Lizards 4 Hour update from Sebring
- Porsche works driver Richard Lietz sets best time in new GTE-AM class
- Quotes from Audi after qualifying for the 12 Hours of Sebring
- Flying Lizard No. 45 Sixth in GT Qualifying for Sebring
Posted: 19 Mar 2011 11:30 AM PDT
A third of the way through the twelve-hour race, the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche is in P7 and the No 44 is P9. Marc Lieb is currently in the No. 45 in his first stint, and Marco Holzer is in the No. 44.
It was a clean race start for the entire field. Joerg Bergmeister started sixth on the grid in the No. 45 and Darren Law in the No. 44 from the rear of the grid. In his 90-minute stint, Joerg focused on staying with the lead GT pack but avoiding the battle between the No. 62 Risi Ferrari, the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrrari (which started on the pole), both BMWs, and both Corvettes as they all fought for the lead, trading off through several caution periods and pit stops.
Nearing the 90-minute mark, Joerg was P5 with the No. 62 Risi Ferrari in the lead, the No. 04 Corvette in P2, the No. 55 BMW in P3 and the No. 51 Ferrari in P4. The GT field took advantage of the next caution (to remove the Larbre No. 50 Corvette which had stopped on course) for their driver changes. Joerg pitted for driver change to Patrick Long.
Patrick was out again quickly, gaining several positions in the pits to emerge in fourth, then passed the No. 04 Corvette on the restart to take P3. At the end of that lap, things took a downturn for the Lizards when the No. 45 connected with the No. 04 Corvette as the No. 04 made an attempt to pass, sending both cars spinning, and collecting the No. 01 Extreme Ferrari in the aftermath.
Patrick said, "That was a tough stint. At the start, I passed Jan Magnussen in the No. 04 Corvette going into Turn 1. Later in the lap, he had a run on me into Turn 17. We were side by side and giving each other plenty of room, when suddenly the front end of my car launched into the air. When I landed I went directly left into Jan's right-hand door. We both spun and the No. 01 (Extreme Ferrari) was collected. It was really unfortunate: I got caught out by a piece of the racetrack that I don't normally run on."
Posted: 19 Mar 2011 06:12 AM PDT
At the wheel of his Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Porsche works driver Richard Lietz secured an excellent grid position for the Sebring 12 hour race. In qualifying for the oldest sports car race in the USA, which kicks off this year's American Le Mans Series on Saturday, Lietz posted the quickest time in the newly-created GTE-AM sports car class in the 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Proton Competition. In this class, the regulations permit one professional race driver only per vehicle. His teammates are Christian Ried (Germany) and Italy's Gianluca Roda. Gallery after the jump
"In the lap where my tyres had the best grip I didn't get a free run, otherwise I could have been another tenth of a second faster," said Richard Lietz. "But still, our team is totally happy with the best time in the GTE-AM class at our first outing in Sebring."
In the GT class, Porsche factory pilot Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) was the fastest Porsche driver. In the cockpit of Flying Lizard Motorsports' 911 GT3 RSR, the title defender posted the sixth fastest time on Friday. Bergmeister shares driving duties with his works driver colleagues Patrick Long (USA) and Marc Lieb (Germany). American Bryan Sellers, who teams up with Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany), takes up the race from position twelve with the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Team Falken.
"Over the last few days we concentrated on finding a good race set-up," Joerg Bergmeister said. "For the qualifying we tried out a couple of changes, but they didn't work. I'm obviously not entirely pleased about sixth on the grid, but it's more important to have a consistently fast car at a twelve hour race than a good grid position."
Posted: 19 Mar 2011 05:55 AM PDT
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport):
"It is certainly a good base for a 12-hour race if you are on the first two rows with both your cars. Especially when you know that it will be a very difficult race with so many cars and certainly a lot of caution periods. Tomorrow it will be important to make no strategic mistakes and that everybody stays calm, even if the things might get hot on the track from time to time."
Timo Bernhard (Audi R15 TDI #1):
"We had a good, productive week so far. Also qualifying was really good. Romain (Dumas) put our car on the front row. This is a good starting position. The race will not be easy, because with over 50 cars it gets pretty close on a 6-kilometre track. In some corners you even cannot drive side by side. In addition there is the sand. If you have to go off-line, you quickly collect dirt. We know the reliability of the R15 TDI, so we should have fairly good chances."
Romain Dumas (Audi R15 TDI #1):
"To get a front row place on my first ever qualifying for Audi is very nice. My fastest lap was good and I did what I needed to do. It's been a long time since I did a qualifying session in a sportscar. The Audi was nicely balanced. I don't think there was much more in the driver and in the car. We've done a good job so far. Now we wait to see what will happen in the race but already we know that it will be long, hot and very competitive. It's not decisive to start second or fourth."
Mike Rockenfeller (Audi R15 TDI #1):
"We know from experience that track conditions are constantly changing at Sebring, depending on temperatures and grip levels. I think that Romain (Dumas) did a great qualifying. To start from the front row is always nice. But the race will be damn long. We knew that qualifying is not crucial here. We therefore focused on the race from the very beginning. I hope we can still make up one place."
Dindo Capello (Audi R15 TDI #2):
"We have been here for a week and as always, the track is always different. What works one day doesn't work the next. We are looking forward to the race and know that we have an advantage compared to our competitors with our open car with so many cars on track. We knew that in qualifying we would not be on pole but for the race I think we have a good car to fight until the end for overall victory."
Tom Kristensen (Audi R15 TDI #2):
"We've worked hard concentrating on optimizing our 'old weapon', the R15 TDI, to give it a great farewell in its final race. Qualifying was a good effort – I gave it my best shot. I was on a good lap but caught another car in the last corner. I did well not to lose too much time and still place fourth. A little more would have been possible – but not pole which was not expected, we knew the new Peugeot would be fast over one lap. The race entry must be a record and means that it'll be a busy and long Saturday for our Audi, crew and us drivers. We have to focus on being consistent, concentrated and keep out of trouble. We have a great team and we know the car has been bullet proof in the past. So fingers crossed."
Allan McNish (Audi R15 TDI #2):
"We have worked hard fine-tuning the set-up for the race. This is more important than ever because with over 50 cars on track, traffic is a major part of the event. When you have to drive off line to overtake, you need a car that you know and feel very comfortable with so that has been one of the main objectives this week. We have got a car and a team that has the experience of this event and that will be crucial."
Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest):
"Romain (Dumas) and Tom (Kristensen) have shown in qualifying, that despite the restriction the R15 TDI is still quite good. The fact that we are not on pole is not a big surprise. But starting from second and fourth positions on the grid is a strong base. It is important that the cars are the way the drivers want them. Tomorrow the last tenth of a second will not be decisive. This will rather be a strategic and tactical race, marked by numerous caution periods. Many incidents will happen. I think for that we have prepared ourselves very well."
Posted: 18 Mar 2011 04:02 PM PDT
Joerg Bergmeister qualified the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR sixth in GT with a time of 2:02.334 for Saturday's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Gianmaria Bruni put the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari on the GT pole with a time of 2:01.561. The No. 44 Porsche elected to start on sticker tires and will start from the back of the GT grid.
Bergmeister commented on the session, "Of course you always hope that you could have qualified better. This morning we made good progress on our race setup, but we didn't have the car for today's qualifying. I'm confident that we'll have a solid racecar for tomorrow."
Craig Watkins, Flying Lizard chief engineer added, "We've been focused on putting a good, consistent car on the course for each session this week. This is going to be an extremely tough race; we won't really know all that BMW, Corvette, Ferrari and the others have until the green flag. And adding to the complexity is the large field of more than 50 cars; many of those are international teams which are not as familiar with the ALMS environment. It's going to be a very challenging twelve hours."
The ALMS season-opener will get the green flag on Saturday, March 19 at 10:30 am ET. The Lizard driver lineup is Bergmeister (Germany) Patrick Long (USA) and Marc Lieb (Germany) in the No. 45; Neiman (USA), Darren Law (USA), and Marco Holzer (Germany) in the No. 44. Bergmeister, Long, Lieb and Holzer are all Porsche Works drivers.
Lieb has been a guest driver with the Lizards in the ALMS endurance races since 2006. In 2010, Lieb won the 24 Heures du Mans in GT2 (with Richard Lietz/Wolf Henzler; Team Felbermayr) and was 2010 Le Mans Series GT champion (with Lietz; Team Felbermayr). Holzer raced with Law and Neiman in the No. 44 for the first time at the 2010 Petit Le Mans. In 2010, Holzer competed in both the FIA GT3 series and the Le Mans Series (Prospeed), with a notable podium finish at the 24 Heures du Mans (BMS Scuderia Italia).
Bergmeister and Long have won the ALMS GT drivers' championship for the last two consecutive years (2009 and 2010), both with Flying Lizard in the No. 45. Bergmeister is five-time ALMS GT drivers' champion (2005-2006 and 2008-2010); three of those titles were driving with Flying Lizard (2008 through 2010). Long has won the ALMS GT drivers' title three times, all with Bergmeister: 2005, and 2009- 2010.
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