Rain gives CORE autosport ALMS Pole Position at Long BeachPress Release
LONG BEACH, Ca., Friday, April 13, 2012: CORE autosport maintains its perfect record for American Le Mans Series (ALMS) pole positions at Long Beach. The #06 machine will be starting first in the Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC) class for the second consecutive year, but it did not happen in its typical dramatic fashion.
A series of rain storms drowned the streets of the normally sunny California town all day Friday, with moderate-to-heavy downpours wreaking havoc during the morning two-hour practice session and cancelling the qualifying session for Saturday’s Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach.
As a result of the weather, the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) field will line up according to points gained at the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March, and the #06 Soloson Import ORECA FLM09 of Alex Popow and Ryan Dalziel will be lining up first in LMPC (8th overall). The sister #05 Composite Resources machine of team founder Jon Bennett and Colin Braun will start in third (10th overall).
The first time CORE autosport and the ALMS field were able to take to the track since arriving in California was at 7:15 a.m. PT on Friday, and it was at that exact time that the clouds opened. Due to the potential of vehicle damage and the standing water on the track, the both CORE autosport cars took to the track for a combined 26 laps.
Qualifying began for the ALMS GTC class at 5:05 p.m. PT in drier conditions. By the time that the faster GT cars took to the circuit at 5:20 p.m., the rains began. To ensure that the slowest class was not starting in front of the four faster classes (GT, LMPC, LMP2 and LMP1) and causing a safety issue, the ALMS cancelled qualifying. This is the first time in ALMS history that qualifying has been cancelled and the field will line up on points.
Friday morning was the first time #06 pilot Popow had ever driven the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary street circuit, and he was unable to take any laps at competition speed. Luckily for the Venezuelan racer, his co-driver Dalziel has driven almost every type of car to take to the track in the past decade, instilling the Long Beach newcomer with confidence for Saturday’s event, which is slated to be dry and sunny.
Last year’s Long Beach event was the site of CORE autosport’s first pole position and win, in only the new-for-2011 team’s second race.
The 2012 Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach will take place on Saturday, April 14 at the temporary street course in Long Beach, Calif. The race will be broadcast live at 4:30 p.m. PT / 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and on-line at ESPN3. Live timing and scoring can be found on the ALMS website at www.alms.com.
“Racing is unpredictable and sometimes unfair, but I’m quite happy with the results of qualifying today and lining up on points.
“Unfortunately with the rain today, we were not able to practice as much as we wanted to prepare for the race tomorrow, but we are starting in a very good position for the race.
“Street courses like Long Beach can be very tough and with this third place start, and first place for the #06 car, we’re in a good place to run a smart race and keep our noses clean, and hopefully repeating our victory at the race tomorrow!”
“Tomorrow’s race should be pretty good for the #05 and the team overall.
“I think that the ALMS did the right thing calling qualifying when it started raining in the middle of the session. It would’ve been pretty unfair and hard to set the grid for everyone tomorrow.
“Even though it was raining, we had a really great session this morning. Jon did a great job in the car and was able to get through a bunch of issues caused by the wet condition. We set down some good laps and tried to make sense of it all as tomorrow it’ll be dry, but we know we have a good car and will give it our best shot.”
“It’s a strange feeling sitting here for a pole position without even driving on the track for qualifying, especially my first time here at Long Beach and the second time I’ve ever driven a street race.
“I was only able to get a few laps in this morning with lots of rain and lots of puddles. I just have to get used to the track tomorrow, try to drive it as far as I can, be smart and keep it on the track.
“We are in a good position because we won the Sebring race and I’m very happy about that. For Saturday I’m just going to go hard and keep it up front as far as I can.”
“It’s special for me to be back here on my tenth anniversary of racing in North America and to reflect over that time on how my career has developed over that time.
“I’m really excited to be working with CORE autosport again after our work together last year (Sebring and Petit Le Mans) and it’s always great to work with Alex, who I’ve driven with a lot in the past two years.
“We’re very excited to be starting up front. Tomorrow’s race will be very interesting for the fans and the drivers, because there are going to be a lot of people racing tomorrow who have never turned a lap of Long Beach in the dry.
“I know that CORE autosport will give us a good car and we’re going to have to keep it in one piece and look forward to a good finish.”
Source: CORE autosport, Press Release
Article Tags: Alex Popow, ALMS, American Le Mans Series, American Le Mans Series (ALMS), Colin Braun, CORE Autosport, Long Beach, Long Beach (CA), Ryan Dalziel, Streets of Long Beach, Streets of Long Beach (CA)