The Alley

The big decision: wets or slicks?

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Teams faced a tough decision this morning at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta – play it safe and use wets on a drying track or go for slicks and go for a time and risk damaging the car.

While parts of the Road Atlanta circuit were dry, the back part of the circuit still had sections which were quite damp. In the Prototype class Joao Barbosa set the pace at 1:23.232 – around 6-7 seconds slower than the quick times from Thursday morning.

Scott Pruett was second fastest in the Ganassi Ford ahead of championship leader Richard Westbrook in the Visit Florida Corvette.

Missing from the session was the Michael Shank Racing Ligier which John Pew crashed last night. While absent from the race track, the P2-style machine featuring the Justin Wilson tribute livery had its tub repaired overnight by Elan Motorsport Technologies and is now in a race against time to actually make qualifying this afternoon.

“I got a text from Tim Keene at DeltaWing and Elan Motorsports at 8:00am this morning saying the tub was done, so that’s unbelievable,” team owner Michael Shank said.

“My faith was renewed again in humanity after the huge ourpouring for Justin (Wilson), but now this is just ridiculous.

“The racing community just boggles my mind. We want to tear each other apart every weekend but when something goes wrong all they do is contribute.”

Nick Tandy used slicks to top the timesheet in GTLM and remarkably set the third fastest time overall. He was remarkably only 8/10ths of a second slower than Barbosa’s time.

Joerg Bergmeister was second fastest in the other factory Porsche ahead of Lucas Luhr’s BMW which jumped up the timesheet late in the session.

Other fast men in the session included IndyCar racer Jack Hawksworth in the RSR PC machine and Kuno Wittmer in the Aston Martin of GTD championship leader Christina Nielsen.

Qualifying kicks off this afternoon at 3:20pm. Rain is forcast to return later today after 5:00pm but the skies remain grey and the track damp at Road Atlanta.

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