ST. PETERSBURG, FL April 4, 2008 – The two Dyson cars will line up behind each other on the grid for tomorrow’s St. Petersburg Grand Prix. In a field of prototypes where the pole starter was quicker than the quickest IndyCar morning practice time, Marino Franchitti qualified the #20 Thetford/Norcold entry fourth in LMP2 with Guy Smith sixth in the #16 Porsche RS Spyder.
“It was a very consistent car,” said Smith. “We may have been too cautious in our qualifying set-up. We were able to do the same good time lap after lap, putting in our best times of the day, but it was not a super-quick qualifier. But on race day, this is just what you want in a car.”
Franchitti noted that “there was more in the car, but I was not able to put together a good qualifying lap. I left a little on the table in one of the turns in the back. But the guys gave me a great car and I am happy with it.”
Franchitti’s team mate Butch Leitzinger was on top of the time charts for the first twenty minutes of the morning session. “This is one of the better street tracks out there with a good mix of corners. There are some bumps, but you can drive around them and the corners are quite smooth. Some compare this race track ambiance to a Monte Carlo type of atmosphere. There is a nice mix of going through the city with its variety of tall buildings and than racing along the harbor.”
“This is a high speed, high downforce track,” agreed Smith’s team mate Chris Dyson. “This is a unique street track. At an hour and 55 minutes, it is one of our shorter races, so strategy, avoiding trouble and staying on the lead lap will be key tomorrow. We are coming off a second and fourth at Sebring and will be carrying good momentum into this waterfront contest.”
Saturday’s race will be broadcast on ABC from 1:30-3:30 p.m. ET. ALMS radio coverage will be available on XM Satellite Radio Channel 144 from 5 to 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 6. Live ALMS radio coverage will be available at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA’s live timing & scoring.
|2.||7||P2||Dumas/Bernhard||1:03.578||Porsche RS Spyder|
|4.||6||P2||Maassen/Long||1:03.737||Porsche RS Spyder|
|5.||20||P2||Franchitti/Leitzinger||1:03.827||Porsche RS Spyder|
|7.||16||P2||Dyson/Smith||1:04.301||Porsche RS Spyder|