de Ferran fifth in ..

 FIRST PETIT LE MANS QUALIFYING

It was qualification day yesterday for the 11th running of Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and taking his turn behind the wheel of the #66 Panasonic-sponsored Acura for de Ferran Motorsports was Simon Pagenaud.

The young Frenchman showed well in his first qualifying attempt for the 1,000-mile race taking fifth place in the LMP2 class and eighth place overall.

It was under the watchful eye of team owner and fellow driver Gil de Ferran as well as teammate for the weekend, reigning Indy 500 and IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon that Pagenaud put in his qualifying performance.

The racecar driver from Poitiers, France completed 16 laps around the 2.54-mile road course but it was on his final lap that the rising young star put in his time of 1 minute 7.656 seconds, placing him on the fourth row of the starting grid.

Petit Le Mans, round 11 of the 2008 American Le Mans Series, gets underway tomorrow, Saturday, October 4 at 11:15 am with live television coverage on SPEEDTV starting at 11:00 am.

SIMON PAGENAUD“At the beginning we had a very positive car, very, very loose but we made a good adjustment and we went quick. We’re just missing a little bit of pure speed but in a ten-hour race that’s not as much of a factor. “I think we have a good driver line up, and we’re all pretty even and that’s very important since it’s such a long race. The car is a solid racecar and I have good expectations for the race. I’m pretty impatient to go racing. We’ve been here for a week already, so I’d like to go racing now! “I think tomorrow is going to be a special day with so many cars on the track. It’s going to be interesting. All the passing is going to be important, we will have to be careful in traffic and try to be there at the end.”

GIL DE FERRAN“We are satisfied with our qualifying. It’s a ten-hour race, so I guess out of all the races that we have done so far, this is probably the least important qualifying session. We’re happy with the car and we’re looking forward to a clean race tomorrow, it’s a long way to go. “I think Scott has fitted into the team very, very well. It’s always difficult for someone just to come in for one event, when Simon and I have been working together for the whole year, but Scott has fitted in perfectly well and has really given a very positive contribution and good effort, so we’re happy to have him around. And Simon did a great job in qualifying, so it’s looking good.”

SCOTT DIXON“I’m feeling pretty good in the car. It’s always very tough to share the car with three drivers when you only get hour sessions. As far as track time it’s difficult and we got a lot of red flags so it doesn’t help to get into a rhythm and things like that. The first couple of days we tested here I didn’t do a whole lot of laps but I definitely feel comfortable in the car for the race. It’s not so flat out, it’s more of a consistency and trying to weed your way through traffic. I can’t wait, I’m looking forward to it. I just can’t wait to sit in the car for three hours!“(About dealing with the slower traffic) It’s gets annoying but it’s hard for those guys too, especially in the GTs, they’re probably racing while always having to look in their mirrors. So luckily this car is fast and you can sort of pass a ton, but I’m sure there’s going to be problems tomorrow with the traffic, there always is.”

QUALIFYING

Pos. Car # Class Drivers Car Result 1 07 LMP1 Minassian/Sarrazin/Klien Peugeot 908 HDi FAP 1min 06.242 sec 2 1 LMP1 Capello/McNish/Pirro Audi R10  1:06.372 3 2 LMP1 Luhr/Werner Audi R10  1:06.818 4 5 LMP2 Briscoe/Castroneves Porsche RS Spyder 1:07.061 5 7 LMP2 Dumas/Bernhard Porsche RS Spyder 1:07.149 6 6 LMP2 Long/Massen/Collard Porsche RS Spyder 1:07.401 7 26 LMP2 Montagny/Andretti/Kanaan Acura ARX-01B  1:07.486 8 66 LMP2 de Ferran/Pagenaud  Acura ARX-01B  1:07.656 9 50 LMP1 Pla/Watts Ginetta-Zytek 07S Zytek 1:07.660 10 37 LMP1 Field/Field/Berry Lola B06/10 AER 1:07.784

TIMETABLE:Saturday, 4 October8:15 am - 8:40 am: Warm Up - All Classes 11:15 am - 9:15 pm: Race - 1,000 miles or 10 hours maximum

TELEVISION:Saturday, 4 October - LiveUSA: SPEED TV,11:00am - 1:00pm (EDT)6.30pm - 11:00pm (EDT)

Saturday, 4 October - LiveEUROPE: Motors TV, 5:00pm - 3:15am (CET)UK: Motors TV, 4:00pm - 2:15am (BST)


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