Penske Porsche driver Timo Bernhard Claims Utah Pole

May 18, 2008

TOOELE, Utah (May 16, 2008) – Timo Bernhard claimed a stunning pole position run for Porsche and Penske Racing in qualifying for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by the Grand and Little America Hotels. Bernhard turned a lap of 1:31.050 (120.514 mph) in the No. 7 Penske Porsche RS Spyder that he will share with Romain Dumas.  Bernhard edged out Gil de Ferran, making his return to racing and his debut in the ALMS, by a scant 0.139 seconds.

"It was very thrilling," said Bernhard, who is on pole for the 12th time in his Series career. "I didn't plan it. I wanted to go out earlier but it worked out. I know Gil de Ferran is a great and successful race car driver. I didn't know how much time they really had for testing and it's really impressive they have come out here and be fast right out for the first time."

Bernhard's pole lap came on his final pass. He had pitted with about five minutes left for fuel and was given the option of calling it a day or taking on more fuel. He chose to continue running and improved his time on each of his final three circuits.

"There were only four minutes left and if the tires were not so good on the out lap, I would just come back in," Bernhard said. "But the first lap was very good and I knew the tires were very good. So during the next lap I picked my points that I knew I could improve on. I put everything together, had a great lap and thought that was the best I could do. Then I knew I had one more so I tried to push even more knowing I was already good. Then as I came across and was even better."

The top five cars were from the LMP2 class as they took advantage of superior cornering abilities on the 3.048-mile, 15-turn circuit. In all, the first nine cars were separated by just 0.853 seconds. It was the tightest qualifying session ever seen in the ALMS.  "It is very good competition. It is what we always asked for, and now we have it," Bernhard said. "I have never seen so many cars driving as fast as they can on the edge."

Patrick Long qualified the No. 6 Penske Porsche RS Spyder that he shares with Sascha Maassen in the fifth position overall.

The Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by The Grand and Little America Hotels is set for Sunday, May 18 from Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. The green flag is scheduled for 3 p.m. EDT with live television coverage on the SPEED network. Live radio coverage will be available on XM Satellite Radio Channel 144 and American Le Mans Radio at, which also features IMSA's Live Timing and Scoring.

Starting lineup of the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by the Grand and Little America Hotels at Miller Motorsports Park (drivers, car, class, lap time and mph)

1. Timo Bernhard, Germany; Romain Dumas, France; Penske Porsche RS Spyder (P2), 1:31.050, 120.51 mph
2. Gil de Ferran, Brazil; Simon Pagenaud, France; Acura ARX-01B (P2), 1:31.189, 120.33
3. Luis Diaz, Mexico; Adrian Fernandez, Mexico; Acura ARX-01B (P2), 1:31.342, 120.13
4. Scott Sharp, Jupiter, FL; David Brabham, Australia; Acura ARX-01B (P2), 1:31.352, 120.12
5. Patrick Long, Oak Park, CA; Sascha Maassen, Germany; Penske Porsche RS Spyder (P2), 1:31.462, 119.97
6. Lucas Luhr, Germany; Marco Werner, Germany; Audi AG R10/TDI (P1), 1:31.590, 119.80
7. Marino Franchitti, Scotland; Butch Leitzinger, State College, PA; Porsche RS Spyder (P2), 1:31.683, 119.68
8. Frank Biela, Germany; Emanuele Pirro, Italy; Audi AG R10/TDI (P1), 1:31.797, 119.53
9. Bryan Herta, Valencia, CA; Christian Fittipaldi, Miami, FL; Acura ARX-01B (P2), 1:31.903, 119.40
10. Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, NY; Guy Smith, England; Porsche RS Spyder (P2), 1:32.356, 118.81
11. Jon Field, Dublin, OH; Clint Field, Dublin, OH; Richard Berry, Evergreen, CO; Lola B06/10 AER (P1), 1:34.870, 115.66
12. Gerardo Bonilla, Orlando, FL; Ben Devlin, England; Lola B07 46 Mazda (P2), 1:35.241, 115.21
13. Oliver Gavin, England; Olivier Beretta, Monaco; Corvette C6.R (GT1), 1:43.869, 105.64
14. Jan Magnussen, Denmark; Johnny O'Connell, Flowery Branch, GA; Corvette C6.R (GT1), 1:44.044, 105.46
15. Jörg Bergmeister, Germany; Wolf Henzler, Germany; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 1:47.135, 102.42
16. Jaime Melo, Brazil; Mika Salo, Finland; Ferrari F430 GT (GT2), 1:47.135, 102.42
17. Johannes van Overbeek, San Francisco, CA; Patrick Pilet, France; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 1:47.252, 102.31
18. Dirk Werner, Germany; Marc Basseng, Germany; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 1:47.338, 102.23
19. Dominik Farnbacher, Germany; Dirk Mueller, Germany; Ferrari F430 GT (GT2), 1:47.958, 101.64
20. Harrison Brix, San Jose, CA; Patrick Friesacher, Austria; Ferrari F430 GT (GT2), 1:48.330, 101.29
21. Johnny Mowlem, England; Gunnar Jeannette, Palm Beach Gardens, FL; Ferrari F430 GT (GT2), 1:48.399, 101.23
22. Tom Milner, Leesburg, VA; Tom Sutherland, Los Gatos, CA; Panoz Esperante Ford (GT2), 1:49.039, 100.63
23. Doug Peterson, Bonita Springs, FL; Lou Gigliotti, Dallas, TX; Chevrolet Riley Corvette C6 (GT2), 1:49.057, 100.62
24. Alex Figge, Hollywood, CA; Jim Tafel, Alpharetta, GA; Ferrari F430 GT (GT2), 1:49.928, 99.82
25. David Murry, Cumming, GA; David Robertson, Ray, MI; Andrea Robertson, Ray, MI; Doran Ford GT-R (GT2), 1:50.433, 99.36
26. Francisco Pastorelli, Netherlands; Nicky Pastorelli, Netherlands; Rueben Carrapatoso, Brazil; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 1:50.893, 98.95
27. Jonny Cocker, UK; Paul Drayson, London, UK; Aston Martin Vantage GT2 (GT2), 1:51.743, 98.20
28. Seth Neiman, Burlingame, CA; Darren Law, Phoenix, AZ; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 1:52.054, 97.92
29. Craig Stanton, Long Beach, CA; Nathan Swartzbaugh, La Habra Heights, LA; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), No Time
30. Chris Hall, Daytona, FL; Joel Feinberg, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Dodge Viper Comp Coupe (GT2), No Time