Nick Tandy captured the GTLM pole for Saturday's 17th running of Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in the Porsche North America 911 RSR.
Braselton, Georgia. Nick Tandy drove the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR to the team's second GT Le Mans (GTLM) class pole position of 2014 at the 17th Annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda. The native of Great Britain led a contingent of three Porsche 911 RSRs entered for the season finale of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The No. 17 Team Falken Tire customer entry was third quickest in today's 15-minute qualifying session at Road Atlanta followed by the No. 912 Porsche North America factory entry in fifth-place. The session set the grid for Saturday's 10-hour endurance classic, which, in turn, will crown the inaugural champion of the series. Porsche is currently tied for the GTLM Manufacturer Championship.
Porsche 911 RSR
The 2.54-mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta facility has long been a strong stage for the rear-engine sports car. The 911 RSR, the latest and most sophisticated version of the iconic racecar continued the tradition of performance today. All three of the Porsche 911 RSR entered qualified in the top-five including the pole-position winning effort by Nick Tandy in the No. 911 Porsche North America "works" entry. The Brits time of one-minute, 18.350 seconds was two-tenths of second quicker than the Ferrari of Risi Competizione. Tandy will pair with Patrick Pilet (France) and German Jörg Bergmeister in the ten-hour endurance race tomorrow. The green flag will start the clock ticking at 11:15 a.m. Eastern Time (ET).
With two wins to-date, at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Porsche is currently tied in the lead for the GTLM Manufacturer Championship. The German marque shares the top spot with Dodge/SRT. Each has 308 points with 35 markers available in tomorrow's race.
Local driver Bryan Sellers drove the only customer-owned Porsche 911 RSR racing in North America to third-place in the GTLM starting field. The Braselton, Georgia-resident was 0.357 seconds behind Tandy's hot lap. Sellers is joined by Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Marco Holzer (Germany) in the defending GTLM, then known as GT class, winning entry of the 2013 Petit Le Mans.
Narrowly trailing the No. 17 was the second factory program car, the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR of Michael Christensen (Denmark). Christensen, who will co-drive with Playa del Rey, California's Patrick Long and New Zealand's Earl Bamber. Bamber, the 2013 Porsche International Cup Scholarship winner, is making his GTLM class debut in tomorrow's race.
Porsche 911 GT America
In the GT Daytona class, Porsche 911 GT America teams put their racecars in the second and third positions on the grid for tomorrow's event. Jan Heylen (Tampa, Florida) qualified the No. 58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America second and Kevin Estre turned the third fastest lap in the No. 73 Park Place Porsche 911 GT America.
In the battle for the class driver's championship, Leh Keen (Atlanta) and Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Illinois) in the No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche are four points behind the leading BMW drivers, while Porsche leads BMW in the manufacturers race by a single point.
Owen Hayes, Director of Operations, Porsche Motorsport North America: "All kudos to the team, I am really proud of what they achieved today. It shows all the hard work we have been doing. I am delighted to have this really good start to the Atlanta race weekend. Now we are going to keep our heads down and look towards the bigger picture of winning the race tomorrow."
Nick Tandy, No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "I was able to really push hard and pull out a time I wasn't expecting. The car was fantastic for the two laps we aimed for. It is a great start to a weekend that means so much to me personally and to Porsche as a team and manufacturer."
Michael Christensen, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "The track was a bit green after the rain. The car was loose compared to the other sessions but it was still quite all right. I had to adapt a little to the conditions but we have good confidence in the car. We will not do much to the car for the race as it has been working well in each condition. We've had a good amount of practice and knowing what to expect a little bit from last year helps me to approach this as just a normal race."
Jan Heylen, No. 58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "We have had a fast car all week, and could have had the pole position but for a few minor problems. The car was a little loose as we misjudged the condition of the track and one of the Audis spun in front of me as I was on my fast lap. I lost a few tenths as a result. But we will be good for the race, and will contend for the win."
Mario Farnbacher, No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "I think the track was totally different compared to last night and yesterday, and that takes the balance out of the car. I expected a little better qualifying time, but sixth place is not a bad place to start. We have 10 hours to go tomorrow and lot can happen. I like our progress this week and I am looking forward to a good race tomorrow."
Leh Keen, No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "We got a lot of rain today, so much so that we didn't go out for practice this morning. In qualifying, the track changed and we made some changes to the car, so we may have to go back to what we had on Thursday. In relation to the cars that we are battling in the championship we are not too bad. We will get it right for the race tomorrow."
All ten-hours of the 17th Annual Petit Le Mans can be seen on live streaming at IMSA.com at 11:00 a.m. ET/8:00 a.m. ET. Live television coverage is available on FOX Sports 2 beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET/12:00 p.m. PT. FOX will broadcast a two-hour highlight show on Sunday, October 5. Check local listings for times.
Live timing and scoring can be found at www.IMSA.com, as can in-car camera footage of the No. 911 and live radio coverage. Additional live radio coverage can be found on the MRN family of stations and satellite radio.
GT Le Mans Qualifying Results
1. No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, Nick Tandy (GB), 1:18.350
2. No. 62 Ferrari 458 Italia, Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy). 1:18.687
3. No. 17 Porsche 911 RSR, Bryan Sellers (USA), 1:18.707
4. No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R, Jonathan Bomarito (USA) 1:18.804
5. No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, Michael Christensen (Denmark), 1:18.848
6. No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7-R, Antonio Garcia (Spain), 1:18.979
GT Daytona Qualifying Results
1. No. 007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage, James Davison (Australia), 1:22.254
2. No. 58 Porsche 911 GT America, Jan Heylen (USA), 1:22.395
3. No. 73 Porsche 911 GT America, Kevin Estre (France), 1:22.471
4. No. 33 Dodge Viper SRT, Jeroen Bleekemolen (Monaco), 1:22.579
5. No. 94 BMW Z4, Dane Cameron (USA), 1:22.682
6. No. 23 Porsche 911 GT America, Mario Farnbacher (Germany), 1:22.776
7. No. 27 Porsche 911 GT America, Andrew Davis (USA), 1:23.121
8. No. 22 Porsche 911 GT America , Leh Keen (USA), 1:23.237
9. No. 44 Porsche 911 GT America, Andy Lally (USA), 1:23.251
11. No. 81 Porsche 911 GT America, Damien Faulkner (Ireland), 1:23.409
17. No. 19 Porsche 911 GT America, Daniel Lloyd (USA), 1:25.135
About Porsche Motorsport North America
Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA), located in Santa Ana, California, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Porsche AG and the sole sales and service provider for the German sports car maker's North American customer sports programs. Porsche is the largest manufacturer of race cars with a wide range of products from the 911 GT3 Cup car to the ultimate 911 RSR. PMNA sells these models to customer teams in North America and provides them with parts, service and expertise in between races and at the track. The PMNA service truck is a fixture at most race tracks in the U.S. and Canada, staffed by factory engineers to service all of Porsche's customer teams.
About Porsche Cars North America
Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), based in Atlanta, Ga. is the exclusive U.S. importer of Porsche sports cars, including the Macan and Cayenne SUVs and the Panamera sports sedan. Established in 1984, it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Porsche AG, which is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, and employs approximately 270 people who provide parts, service, marketing and training for 189 dealers. They, in turn, work to provide Porsche customers with a best-in-class experience that is in keeping with the brand's 66-year history and leadership in the advancement of vehicle performance, safety, and efficiency.
At the core of this success is Porsche's proud racing heritage that boasts some 30,000 motorsport wins to date.
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