Friday, October 7, 2016
Patrick Long looks good for this weekend at Mazda Raceway.
GT TITLE POINT CONTENDER PATRICK LONG STRONG FRIDAY IN QUEST OF CHAMPIONSHIP FRIDAY AT MRLS Press Release by Tom Blattler: SALINAS, Calif. – GT championship contender Patrick Long of Manhattan Beach, Calif., established himself Friday afternoon as the one to beat for Sunday’s 50-minute GT season finale by driving his No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R to the fastest second practice round speed at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the Pirelli World Challenge Championships present by Nissan. Long, 34, recorded a lap time of one minute, 24.856 seconds for an average speed of 94.947 miles per hour as the air and track temperatures increased in the afternoon practice round. The 201 GT series champion was second in the morning practice at 1:24.130, just behind fastest of the day, Michael Cooper of Syosset, N.Y., with a 1:23.986 clocking in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. “We unloaded the Porsche strong yesterday in testing here and it continued throughout Friday,” said Long, the two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner. “I felt we were going have a strong first two days. And qualifying and the race are different stories from practice here at Laguna Seca. So far we like our chances for the weekend. Qualifying in the cooler conditions will be important Saturday and we run less fuel and better tires than in the race. We have to start Sunday’s race on the tires we qualify with and that can be a key. The race will be in hotter conditions and for 50 minutes, so you want conserve your tires overall. But right I’m pleased with the direction we are going.” “We had a good morning run in the cooler conditions,” said Cooper, a two-time GT winner in 2016. “We were working on qualifying setup as we’ll qualifying in the morning Saturday. We were attempting to get the Cadillac just right. We expected the afternoon to be much hotter for the track surface and that is what happened. Qualifying will be very important for Sunday’s finale. We want to start up front.” Long, a three-time GT winner in 2016, trails current GT point leader Alvaro Parente of Porto, Portugal, by nine points entering Sunday’s season-ending GT event. Parente took his No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S to the sixth position Friday afternoon with a 1:25.314. In the GTA division, Michael Schein of Glen Cove, N.Y., Long’s Wright Motorsports teammate in the No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R, was the quickest in the afternoon at 1:26.041 over GTA series champion Martin Fuentes of Mexico City in the No. 07 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia at 1:26.119. Rookie Corey Fergus of Columbus, Ohio topped the GT Cup category on Friday afternoon with a 1:29.369 in his No. 00 Byers Imports/Motorsports Promotions Porsche 911 GT3 Cup over Sloan Urry of Salt Lake City, Utah at 1:30.516 in the TruSpeed Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Qualifying for GT/GTA/GT Cup is scheduled for Saturday at 10:25 a.m. with the Sunday’s GT finale set for 1:05 p.m., as a Pirelli World Challenge record 127 entries will compete this weekend. Used by permission of Tom Blattler