At the season final of the American Le Mans Series in Laguna Seca/California two Porsches occupy the first row of the grid. Sascha Maassen (Germany) secured pole position with a new lap record in the number six RS Spyder which he shares with Ryan Briscoe (Australia). The second quickest qualifying time went to Timo Bernhard in the number 7 sister car of Penske Racing. He and Romain Dumas (France) had already claimed the driver championship title in the LMP2 class at the penultimate round of the season in Road Atlanta.
On the swift and challenging circuit, the Porsche pilots easily dominated not only their class opponents, but also again beat the Audi R10 cars, which are more than 200 hp more powerful and, starting in the LMP1 class, hold a clear advantage. With eight overall victories this season, Porsche is the most successful manufacturer in this race series with the world’s fastest sports cars and was able to clinch all four championship titles in the LMP2 class before the end of the season.
“I“m absolutely thrilled about my first pole position of the year,“ said Sascha Maassen. “My first lap was very quick but towards the end I noticed that the tyre grip was still good. So I put in another flying lap, although they were telling me over the radio to come into the pits. That was my pole-setting lap.“
Hartmut Kristen, head of motorsport at Porsche, was also satisfied with the excellent grid positions of the two RS Spyders for the four hour race on Saturday. “Congratulations to Penske Racing,“ he said. “The small time difference though indicates that tomorrow’s race will be extremely exciting. Like in qualifying there is bound to be the odd safety car phase. Our pit stop strategy will therefore play an important role.“
At the wheel of the number 20 RS Spyder fielded by the US privateer team Dyson Racing, Guy Smith (Great Britain) and Chris Dyson (USA) qualified for the fourth grid row. Sitting one row behind are team mates Andy Wallace (Great Britain) and Butch Leitzinger (USA) in their number 16 race car.
In the GT2 class for slightly modified production sports cars, title defender Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) turned the second quickest time in his Porsche 911 GT3 RSR run by Flying Lizard Motorsports.
The race on Saturday takes off at 2.45pm local time (11.45pm CEST) and runs over four hours.
1. Maassen/Briscoe (D/AUS), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 1:10.952 minutes
2. Bernhard/Dumas (D/F), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 0.125 behind
3. Herta/Kanaan (USA/BR), Acura ARX (LMP2), 0.385
4. Brabham/Johansson (AUS/S), Acura ARX (LMP2), 0.573
5. Capello/McNish (I/GB), Audi R10 (LMP1), 0.647
6. Fernandez/Diaz (MEX/MEX), Acura ARX (LMP2), 0.676
7. Rockenfeller/Werner (D/D), Audi R10 (LMP1), 1.148
8. Dyson/Smith (USA/GB), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 1.563
9. Wallace/Leitzinger (GB/USA), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 1.971
10. Manning/Chilton (USA/GB), Zytek 07S (LMP1), 2.257