Friday dawned in Georgia with those of us sporting media track access passes dragged from our beds to attend the mandatory photo meeting. Coffee and grumbles were, as ever, the order of the day at the hot and steamy Road Atlanta track. On the circuit things had a familiar ring, with BMW topping the GT2 class during the final practice session.
And still at the top of the timesheets was the #08 Peugeot. Plus ca change……………
Friday at Petit Le Mans is also the day when the fans can get up close and personal with the drivers and teams……….there is the autograph session.
For some reason there was a big queue at the Falken Tire setup and even more odd it was not always our two drivers that the fans' attention was lavished on.
But to be fair, there was plenty of interest in the table with Bryan Sellers and Dominic Cicero………….only right and proper.
Not to be outdone by the Falken setup, Peugeot acquired the services of Miss Road Atlanta, the 2009 Race Queen. Here Franck Montagny and Nic Minassian show her the true spirit that has made Frenchmen renowned all over the world, entente cordiale indeed.
When not signing autographs, Lord Drayson was signing his team and his new Lola Judd up to a full season in the 2010 ALMS, welcome news for the Series.
Leaving their natural habitat of Turn Ten, Sebring International Raceway, Lee Self and The Amazing Randy made the trek North to the Road Atlanta Paddock. It is certain that they will shortly migrate South again for the winter and can be seen in the Central Highlands every March. There were even rumours of sightings of the Great Norm but no photographic evidence exists…………….so claims can be discounted
And how can you have an Endurance Race anywhere on the planet without some Orange and Drinking For Holland?
Meanwhile a courier turned up early this morning with a big parcel for Patron Highcroft Racing. The replacement tub was being built up by the crew while the rest of the paddock signed their lives away………….a long day in prospect for the guys.
The Jaguar XKR finally made it onto the circuit, only for demo laps but the 2010 ALMS has another serious GT2 contender.
Qualifying………..and after the domination of the factory teams it was a surprise to see the Robertson Racing Ford GT Mk7 snatch a convincing pole…….veteran sportscar ace, David Murry wringing the neck out of the car………a very popular result round the pit lane.
In LMP2 Marino Franchitti continued his run of pole positions driving the elegant Dyson Racing Lola B08/86 Mazda.
A Peugeot at the top of timing screens was not a surprise but for it to be Nic Minassian in #07 was. He managed a 1:06.937 to beat Montagny by .2 of second………..Nic had a big grin after that performance
Nic gets to do the TV interviews…………
Will that be the same tomorrow? Not so sure. Audi made progress today and there are thunder storms forecast for the region during the race…………….
Tune in tomorrow here after the race to see what happens but for those wanting to be up to the minute try following the progress of the cars on http://www.radiolemans.com/