Penske Porsches Qualify Third and Fourth at Lime Rock

July 11, 2008

LIME ROCK, Conn. (July 11, 2008) –  Despite the fact that Porsche and Acura had a terrific battle for the LMP2 class – and overall – pole positions, the story of Friday’s Northeast Grand Prix qualifying session for Saturday’s American Le Mans Series race at Lime Rock Park was the condition of the newly-paved and rebuilt racing circuit. 

The Penske Porsche RS Spyders qualified third (No. 6 - Sascha Maassen/Patrick Long) and fourth (No. 7 - Romain Dumas/Timo Bernhard) overall, and third and fourth in the LMP2 class behind the Brabham/Sharp and the de Ferran/Pagenaud Acuras, but the talk of the town was the new track, which had a role to play in the seven red flags that plagued practice and qualifying. 

Track management had overseen a complete repaving of the circuit between its Memorial Day event and this weekend, including the building of two new corners which completely changed the characteristics of this classic road-racing venue.  After two practice sessions and qualifying, the consensus was that, although the smooth surface was a welcome change from Lime Rock events of the past, the new corners were too narrow for multi-class racing and both the slow cars and the fast cars have trouble finding track space to get out of the way and overtake respectively.

Still, when it’s all said and done, everyone has to race on the same circuit, and Hartmut Kristen, head of Porsche Motorsport, expects the Porsche-Acura battle to continue to be close. “After some rear wing adjustments this morning, the Porsche RS Spyders qualified very well, as two Acuras, two Penske Porsches, another Acura, and a Dyson Porsche RS Spyder took the top six positions, all a little more than a half-second apart,” said Kristen, who noted the Audi LMP1 cars were eighth and ninth overall.  “We have known since Sebring that the Acuras are much improved this year, and we expect another close finish at Lime Rock.”

In the LMP2 Manufacturers points, Porsche leads Acura by 17 points.

The two hour, 45-minute race will get the green flag on Saturday at 2:00 PM EDT, and will be broadcast live on American Le Mans Radio on the web at, which will also have live timing and scoring.  The race will also be telecast in its entirety on a delayed basis on SPEED TV on Sunday, July 13 at Noon EDT.