Long Beach, Calif. – In unseasonably wet conditions, qualifying for the second American Le Mans Series (ALMS) round of 2012 at Long Beach, California, was abandoned as the waterlogged street circuit became too treacherous for competitive action. With grid positions therefore determined by ALMS championship points, Aston Martin Racing’s #007 Vantage GTE will start from the back of the GTE field for Saturday’s two-hour race by dint of having been registered for FIA World Endurance Championship points – rather than ALMS points – at the season opener at the 12 Hours of Sebring last month.
The qualifying session started in dry conditions, during which time factory driver Darren Turner (GBR) was able to elevate the team to second in class. The rain arrived shortly after, however, and the race officials took the decision to abandon the session and instead determine grid positions on ALMS points.
As a result, Aston Martin Racing looks forward to an exciting race in the Lowe’s backed car and an opportunity to prove the V8-powered Vantage GTE’s competitive pace and durability against the world’s leading production-based racing cars.
John Gaw, Aston Martin Racing Team Principal, said: “It’s a pity that the rain arrived when it did because we were setting a very competitive pace in the early stages of qualifying. Rather than starting the race towards the front of the GTE field, we’ll instead start towards the back, but I’m confident that we can work our way back up through the field tomorrow. The race looks as though it’ll be dry, and with most teams only having covered a single flying lap in the dry this week, the race on this tricky street circuit will be exciting and we are fully prepared to fight hard right from the start.”
Wet conditions had also prevailed for the pre-race practice session, during which Aston Martin Racing drivers Turner and Adrian Fernandez (MX) each familiarised themselves with the unforgiving 1.968-mile Californian circuit. Despite the challenging conditions and the drivers sensibly taking no risks, they were able to lap the circuit fifth quickest of all the GTE competitors.
Saturday’s two-hour race is expected to be run in drier conditions as it gets underway at 4:30 pm (PDT).