At Road Atlanta, for the 14th edition of the Petit Le Mans, the ORECA chassis are present in LMP2, with one ORECA 03 entered by Signatech-Nissan, and in LMPC, with no less than seven ORECA-FLM 09. With eight chassis in total, ORECA is the most well represented constructor in prototypes. In LMP2, Signatech-Nissan ran in the various practice sessions, before signing the second fastest time in qualifying, only 305 thousandths off pole. Jean-Karl Vernay gives the team a point for best time in the ILMC. In LMPC, Intersport Racing will start from pole, despite having a severe accident in free practice. Kyle Marcelli rewards the hard work put in by the team run by the Field family. The championship leaders are in the top 5, with Gunnar Jeannette (CORE Autosport) 4th and Jordan Grogor (Genoa Racing) 5th.
Franck Mailleux : « It’s up to us to do the work in the race… »
Since the start of the week, the ORECA 03 entered by Signatech-Nissan has been a front runner, topping the time sheets during the two practice sessions. After debuting in the ORECA 03 at the 6 Hours of Silverstone, Jean-Karl Vernay continues to gain experience in the team run by Philippe Sinault and Didier Calmels. The Frenchman was well on his way to the top position, before Luis Diaz knocked the Signatech driver off the pole in the last lap. « We missed the pole on the vert last lap, » said Franck Mailleux. The priority was the race : « We didn’t especially work for qualifying, but more so to have a good car in the race. We’re expecting ten animated hours of racing, and we’ll have to deal with traffic. The layout at Road Altanta is more complicated than Sebring. It’s up to us to do the work in the race. We’ll have to stay focused, there is no down time and it’s impossible to have a clear lap.» Coming into this meeting, Signatech-Nissan has a 26 point lead over Level 5 Motorsports in the ILMC championship. Franck Maileux, Lucas Ordoñez and Jean-Karl Vernay can therefore take the Teams title before the last event in Zhuhai. The driver from Bretagne is hoping for a good result « We’ve had enough second place finishes. It’s time to give ourselves a clear objective : victory ! »
Kyle Marcelli : « An extra motivation. »
With seven cars on track, the LMPC class will be hotly contested, knowing that for the last meeting of the American Le Mans Series, nothing is settle in the championship battle between CORE Autosport and Genoa Racing. That said, neither of these teams will be starting from pole, with the fastest time going to Intersport Racing and Kyle Marcelli. The work wasn’t made easy for Intersport, after a violent accident involving David Ducote during the last practice session. The American was hit by a GT and was taken to the hospital for tests.
« For me, it was an extra motivation, » said Marcelli upon exiting the car. « I hadn’t run in the last session : we had planned to put me in the car in the last quarter hour to do a quick lap to prepare for qualifying. We called on the radio to tell David to do an extra lap, and that’s when he had his accident. » Intersport Racing was still able to prepare the car in time to qualify : « I trusted our engineers and our technical team that they’d be able to rebuild the car.» Although Intersport Racing is no longer in the hunt for the title, Marcelli/C.Ducote/Drissi are hoping for a win. « Success here is special and it’s something we want. We are working hard to win races. At each race, everyone is doing their best. The team gets a long perfectly and everything’s going excellent. »
After spending most of the qualifying session on provisional pole, Dane Cameron (Genoa Racing) relinquished the top spot to the driver of the No. 89 ORECA-FLM 09 with four minutes to go. Cameron/Kronfli/Mitchell/Grogor will start on the front row alongside Marcelli/Ducote/Drissi. Lewis/Dobson/Richard (PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports) will start in third, with Jeannette/Gonzalez/Junco Jr (CORE Autosport) at their side.
Gunnar Jeannette and Ricardo Gonzalez are still in the hunt for the title, only three points behind Eric Lux. The Genoa Racing driver did not run in qualifying, leaving Jordan Grogor the reigns, coming home with the fifth fastest time. Eric Lux looks back at the choice : « Jordan has been very fast since the first practice session and we gave him the chance to qualify the car. We are expecting a difficult race, but our driving squad is good and the car is working very well. » Montecalvo/Bennett/Dalziel had dominated the second session, but Frankie Montecalvo was unable to do better than 6th fastest in qualifying. Performance Tech Motorsports is in 7th place in class, with Nicolosi/Boon/Lueders.
The start of the race will be at 11 :30 am local time (5 :30 pm in France), for 10 hours or 1000 miles…