Defending race winners Rebellion Racing went fastest under the cover of darkness in the final Thursday practice for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) finale Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
The team had been off the pace set by Muscle Milk Pickett Racing in the first two of the day’s sessions but as the track began to dry during the night practice session Neel Jani took the Toyota powered Lola Coupe around the 2.54 mile track in 1:20.360, three seconds faster than the best time of the day up to then. The margin proved that the track conditions were improving after a day of near wash-out conditions with several teams skipping both of the earlier sessions. Jani will share the car with Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld.
“I’ve never driven in the rain at night, so this was a premier for me,” said Jani. “It was not at all easy with the spray and puddles, but I got a feel for it. We were far off from risking anything. It’s only Thursday, but if it was Saturday, it’s a different story. We have seen many times where we were very quick compared to the Muscle Milk team, but they have a very good racecraft that we are not underestimating.”
Klaus Graf was the best man for the Muscle Milk team and though his best lap surpassed those of the earlier session he still trailed Jani by over two seconds.
Having ended both of the first two sessions second fastest the DeltaWing duo of Andy Meyrick and Katherine Legge were fifth fastest, slower in the session than the best two P2 cars, the class topped by Ryan Briscoe and the Level 5 Motorsports team.
Having led the second practice Team Falken Tire were the pace setters again thanks to a Wolf Henzler lap of 1:28.933 in the car he shares with Bryan Sellers and Nick Tandy. The GT class was typically close, the Paul Miller Racing Porsche just seven thousandths of a second slower with the SRT Viper of Jonathan Bomarito, Kuno Wittmer and Tommy Kendall only a further 0.016 seconds slower. Corvette Racing’s entries with fourth and fifth faster.
8Star Motorsports men Ozz Negri and Sean Rayhall were fastest in Prototype Challenge, Jan Heylen fastest among the GTC drivers of JDX Racing.