ELKHART LAKE, WI August 15, 2009 –Dyson Racing gave Mazda its first pole in the history of the American Le Mans Series in qualifying today at Road America. Marino Franchitti took the LMP2 pole on his first lap of qualifying. “I am delighted for the whole Mazda team,” said Franchitti. “It is very satisfying when you are going up against your competitors and it is just raw speed and you are flat out all the way around. I have to thank my teammate, Butch Leitzinger, who made some great calls on set-up and it is as much his pole as mine. I think if Guy Smith had a clean run, there may have been someone else on the pole as he has been very quick all weekend. We have been getting quicker and quicker in qualifying and Chris Dyson could not have come any closer last weekend at Mid-Ohio.”
Guy Smith qualified the #16 BP Mazda Lola third in class. But the hour leading up his qualifying run was a story unto itself. With ten minutes to go in the final practice session before qualifying, the #16 car went off in turn seven. The car was brought back to the garage and the crew jumped on it, replacing the left rear suspension and fixing the damaged bodywork. With ten minutes left in qualifying, the crew wheeled the car out, and Smith set his fast time with four minutes remaining.
“I am absolutely delighted with our first pole of the year,” stated Chris Dyson. “For the guys to get the 16 car turned around as quickly as they did is a credit to how well prepared they are and how well organized the team is. My hat’s off to the team and our partners. Lola builds a strong car and AER is doing a fantastic job on the engines. What has been notable about this year is that our qualifying pace has translated well into race performance.”
“This is the culmination of a lot of hard work, testing and development,” noted Rob Dyson. “I am really impressed with what Marino and Guy did and the job the guys did. We have won qualifying and now we need to put a win on the board tomorrow.”
The Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase is set for 2 p.m. CT tomorrow. The race will air live on SPEED. American Le Mans Radio and live timing & scoring will be available at Racehub on americanlemans.com. The series can also be followed on Twitter.
|1.||66||P1||de Ferran/Pagenaud||1:48.216||Acura ARX 02|
|2.||9||P1||Brabham/Sharp||1:49.039||Acura ARX 02|
|6.||6||P2||Pickett/Graf||1:51.922||Porsche RS Spyder|