in Bell Micro No. 71, No. 73 to Take Green in 13th for Laguna Finale
Tafel Racing again placed the No. 71 Tafel/Bell Micro Racing Ferrari F430 GTC in the Top Three of American Le Mans Series GT2 qualifying today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The 20 minute session set the grid for Saturday's four hour, "into the darkness" Monterey Sports Car Championships. For the fourth consecutive event, Dominik Farnbacher (Ansbach, Germany) and Dirk Müller (a native of Germany now living in Monaco) will start from third on the GT2 class grid.
Farnbacher's lap of the one minute, 22.701 seconds around the 2.238-mile, 11- turn Monterey, Calif. track was just 0.321 seconds off the pole position winning time for the October 18 season-finale. The No. 73 Tafel Racing Ferrari F430 GTC of Alex Figge (Denver), Harrison Brix (San Jose, Calif.) and Pierre Ehret (Santa Rosa, Calif./Germany) will start 10 positions behind their No. 71 teammates in 13th. Ehret put in a lap of 1:24.970. The top four cars all bettered the previous track record set last season in a Ferrari. The Bell Micro machine was the quickest qualifying Ferrari.
Farnbacher's time marked the 11th time in 11 races that the Bell Micro Ferrari has turned a time strong enough to sit in the Top Five of the very competitive class. Overall, the Cumming, Ga.-based program leaves the 2008 season with one pole position (Road America), two front row spots and, including today, five Top Three qualifying efforts. The No. 71 Bell Micro Ferrari also has three race victories (St. Petersburg, Fla., Long Beach, Calif., and Mid-Ohio), six podiums and eight Top Five finishes to-date. Farnbacher, who had his contract extension with Tafel Racing for 2009 announced today, set his best time on his sixth circuit. Ehret, making his third start for Tafel Racing this season, also turned his best time on his sixth lap. The No. 71 Bell Micro Ferrari and the No. 73 will have a 25 minute warm-up session tomorrow morning at 9:55 (PT) to prepare their Ferrari's for the four hour race.
A tape-delayed, two hour broadcast of the Monterey Sports Car Championship begins at 2 PM (ET), October 19 on NBC Sports. XM Satellite Radio will broadcast the full race broadcast on a one day delay on Sunday, October 19 at 4 PM (ET) on Channel 144. Live timing and scoring of each on-track session and the live American Le Mans Series Radio Web broadcast can be found at www.AmericanLeMans.com.
QuotesDominik Farnbacher, Driver, No. 71: "Qualifying was good. I am very satisfied. We had the quickest Ferrari. We improved the car from the first practice. We have a really good race car. The Porsches seem to be very strong here. We will have to be pushing to keep up with them but I think we can."
Dirk Müller, Driver, No. 71: "Dom did a good job. It was his turn to qualify here at Laguna. Position three is a good thing. As always we are not keyed-in to qualifying. We are more about the race setup but you like to see where you are at. I believe tomorrow in the race it will be a very competitive with four or five cars very close together."
Pierre Ehret, Driver, No. 73: "I am disappointed in qualifying. I was a little tired. I think I worked too hard in the practice right before that. Having a fresher driver might have been a better choice."