Timo Bernhard Leads Penske Racing to Long Beach Pole

April 18, 2008

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 18, 2008) – Timo Bernhard (Germany), defending LMP2 class co-champion, left no space between his No. 7 Penske Porsche RS Spyder and the concrete wall on the Long Beach Grand Prix street circuit and shattered the track record by more than a half-second to grab the overall pole for Saturday’s Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series race.

The 100-minute race will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on Sunday,
April 20, at 12:30 PM Eastern time on ABC-TV.

Bernhard, who will be trying to win his third straight LMP2 class race with Penske Racing co-driver Romain Dumas (France), felt comfortable with the car setup even though it looked like he was running too close to the wall.

“I know I was close to the wall a couple of times, but I could put this car exactly where I wanted it to go,” said Bernhard, who finished all 12 ALMS races in 2007 on the podium with co-driver Dumas.

“We weren’t sure how the top five or six positions would sort out as no one got a clear lap yesterday, and the track was very slippery.  We made some adjustments to the car, and I had four clear laps during qualifying – I am pleased for the team that their hard work turned into an overall pole,” said Bernhard, who earned his 11th ALMS pole.

Second and third overall, and second and third in LMP2, were the Fernandez/Diaz and Brabham/Sharp/Johansson Acuras respectively, with the No. 6 Patrick Long (USA)/Sascha Maassen (Germany) Penske Porsche RS Spyder fourth in LMP2 and fourth overall. 

"Although Sascha and I are not off to the best season start - failing to finish the 12 Hours of Sebring and losing championship points after being penalized at St. Petersburg – we were pleased with our fourth-place qualifying position,” said Long, the only American Porsche factory driver.

Driving this car is much different than the Porsche 911 I drove here last year, but I felt pretty good by the end of the session,” said Long.  

Saturday's race can be heard live starting at 7:10 PM Eastern time on American Le Mans Radio at www.americanlemans.com, which will also have live timing and scoring.