Audi pushes past Peugeot late in Monday qualifying

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BRASELTON – Audi Sport’s Romain Dumas waited until the second-to-last lap Monday to set the fastest time in the second day of testing for the 14th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda – a 1:08.394 (133.696 mph) lap at Road Atlanta. The Frenchman set the time in the diesel-powered Audi R18 TDI that he will share in Saturday’s 1,000-mile/10-hour race with Timo Bernhard and Marcel Fassler.

Dumas’ time ended what had been a day of dominance for Peugeot Sport Total, which sat 1-2 for most the afternoon.

The No. 7 entry of Sebastien Bourdais, Anthony Davidson and Simon Pagenaud ended Monday second at 1:08.569 (133.355 mph). The second Peugeot of Franck Montagny, Stephane Sarrazin and Alexander Wurz sat third at 1:09.311 (131.927 mph).

“At first we had a problem finding the best setup on the car for the race. But in the afternoon I was very happy with the progress and balance. It felt really good,” Sarrazin said. “Yes the car is new but the track and the job are still the same.

My last three years here have been very good with a runner-up in 2008 and wins in 2009 and 2010.

“Physically the race should not be too difficult because it is a shorter track. But you have to be extremely careful with traffic as it could quickly end your race.”

Petit Le Mans, the final round of the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón, marks the resumption of a Road Atlanta battle between the two diesel powers that dates back to 2008. Peugeot won the last two years, and both factory teams are back with first-year prototype coupes. The Audi bested Peugeot in June at the 24 Hours of the Le Mans and the French manufacturer is looking for retribution this weekend. The 908 was fastest at Road Atlanta on Sunday with a 1:08.291 (133.898 mph).

In LMP2, Level 5 Motorsports’ Luis Diaz set the quickest lap at 1:13.291 (124.763 mph) in the team’s new HPD ARX-01g. The Mexican star – who is teaming with Scott Tucker and Marino Franchitti – also posted his time two laps from the end of the session.

Level 5 was 1-2 in the class with the second HPD prototype of Tucker, Christophe Bouchut and Joao Barbosa only 0.438 seconds back. Signatech Nissan’s ORECA 03 prototype of Franck Mailleux, Lucas Ordonez and Jean-Karl Vernay was third in class at 1:14.003 (123.563 mph).

Flying Lizard Motorsports, winner of the most recent ALMS round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, was the quickest GTE Pro car at 1:20.251 (113.943 mph). The car of Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Long and Marc Lieb led a pack of four class cars that were within 0.586 seconds.

Risi Competizione’s Ferrari F458 Italia of Raphael Matos, Jaime Melo and Toni Vilander was next at 1:20.669 (113.352 mph). It was 0.107 seconds ahead of Corvette Racing’s Corvette C6.R of Olivier Beretta, Antonio Garcia and Tommy Milner.

AF Corse’s Ferrari F430 GT of Rui Aguas, Justin Bell and Rob Kauffman was the quickest of the GTE Am cars at 1:21.217 (112.587 mph). It was more than a second clear of Larbre Racing’s Corvette C6.R of Patrick Bornhauser, Gabriele Gardel and Julien Canal.

In LMP Challenge, Genoa Racing’s ORECA FLM09 posted the class-leading time of 1:18.563 (116.391 mph) in the morning session. Jordan Gregor, Bassam Kronfli and Aldous Mitchell are teaming in the car.

TRG’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry of Ben Keating, Jim Norman and Dion von Moltke went quickest in GT Challenge with a lap of 1:25.446 (107.015 mph). Magnus Racing’s Porsche of John Potter and Craig Stanton was second at 1:26.224 (106.049 mph).

The next test session for ALMS cars is set for 2:45-4:45 p.m. Wednesday.

The 14th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda is set for 11:30 a.m. on Saturday from Road Atlanta. The race will air on ABC at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Live coverage will be available in the U.S. on ESPN3 or outside the U.S. on americanlemans.com. Ticket and schedule information is available on the ALMS schedule page.