ST. PETERSBURG, FL April 3, 2009 – Two weeks separated the 12 Hours of Sebring from this weekend’s St. Petersburg Grand Prix, but Dyson Racing’s progress with their two new Mazda LMP2 entries belies that short time frame. Guy Smith qualified second in class, three tenths off class pole and Marino Franchitti lined up third, two tenths behind. Smith ran his fastest lap on the session’s last lap.
The team met the challenge of only one day to practice and qualify, and rolled two quick cars off the truck. In today’s first practice, Franchitti was quickest in P2 for most of the first half of the session, commenting that the “track will get grip where we need it and we do not need to make any major changes.”
Smith said that a driver approaches a two-day street race weekend with a different mind set. “You just have to get on with it. There is not time for slow steady laps, every lap counts around here. You get your head down, focus on the job at hand and make every lap count.”
“After our first test with these cars, we thought that they would do well on street courses,” noted Chris Dyson. “This is a fast, high downforce track that is very smooth, allowing you to lower the car, and get the most out of the Lola package. From a driver’s standpoint, it is one of the better laid- out street courses. At an hour and fifty-five minutes, tomorrow’s race will put a premium on a quick sprint pace and today’s qualifying gave us the confidence we will be right in the mix.”
The race takes the green flag at 1:20 PM EDT on Saturday, and will be telecast live on ABC starting at 1:30 PM EDT. Live timing and scoring and ALMS Radio can be found at americanlemans.com. XM Radio will carry the race live on channel 244 and Sirius on channel 126.
Mazda is the brand choice of road racers across North America. On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race-tracks of America than any other brand. You will see MX-5 Miata, RX-8, MAZDA3, MAZDA6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models because every Mazda has the Soul of a Sports Car.
|1.||66||P1||de Ferran/Pagenaud||1:03.776||Acura ARX 02|
|2.||6||P1||Brabham/Sharp||1:04.722||Acura ARX 02|