Prost’s Toyota Sets Road Atlanta Pace
BRASELTON, Ga. — Rebellion Racing set the fastest time in the third and final day of testing for Saturday’s 16th Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda with Nicolas Prost running a lap of one minute, 9.942 seconds (130.737 mph) at Road Atlanta to lead Wednesday’s session.
Rebellion Racing is defending its victory in Petit Le Mans, but it running its first American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón event since May.
Prost will co-drive the No. 12 Rebellion Timepieces/Lemo Connectors/Speedy Garage Lola B12/60-Toyota with Neel Jani and Nick Heidfeld. Prost and Jani won the 2012 event for Rebellion, joined by Andrea Belicchi.
“We didn’t run the same configuration as Monday (when Heidfeld was fastest with a lap of 1:09.816/130.973 mph),” said Prost, son of four-time Formula One World Champion Alain Prost. “But my teammates were all very close, just like we were on Monday, and I think that’s the key to this race. I think we’ve prepared quite well, but it’s going to be a long and hard race.”
Muscle Milk Picket Racing, seeking its ninth consecutive ALMS victory, was second with a lap of 1:10.754 (129.237 mph) in the No. 6 HPD ARX-03c turned by Klaus Graf, who will co-drive with Lucas Luhr and Romain Dumas.
Four driver championships are still up for grabs in the season finale, including the P2 class. Level 5 Motorsports owner/driver Scott Tucker currently leads the P2 standings by six points over Scott Sharp, 149-143.
Ryan Briscoe, Tucker’s co-driver in the No. 551 Alpina Watches/Siemens/Ohiya Casino Resort HPD ARX-03b, led the class on Wednesday with a lap of 1:12.770 (125.656 mph). He was followed by David Brabham, Sharp’s teammate in the No. 01 Tequila Patrón Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b, 1:14.406 (122.893 mph).
Dirk Muller, currently second in the GT championship, led the class on Wednesday with a lap of 1:19.299 (115.310 mph) in the No. 56 BMW Team RLL Crowne Plaza BMW Z4 GTE co-driven by Bill Auberlen and John Edwards.
“That was definitely a good start for the weekend,” Muller said. “We know where we struggle — on the straights — and we are trying to minimize that weakness. Monday we mainly worked on long runs, to prepare for the race.”
Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen enter the finale with a 125-109 lead over Muller. They were sixth in Wednesday’s session in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6 ZR1.
Leading the Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire (PC) class was the No. 25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09 of Shawn Rayhall, 1:16.131 (120.109 mph). Point leader Mike Guasch’s No 52 Molecule entry from PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports was sixth, four positions behind nearest challenger Chris Cumming’s No. 8 BAR1 Motorsports ORECA.
Jeroen Bleekemolen, who shares the GT Challenge points lead with Alex Job Racing teammate Cooper MacNeil, led the class with a lap of 1:24.780 (107.856 mph) in the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.