Tuesday
Apr172007

TEAM NEWS: Short Afternoon for RLR at Grand Prix of Long Beach

Photo by John Thawley LONG BEACH, California Poor luck continued to plague Rahal Letterman Racing in the Long Beach Grand Prix as the shortest scheduled race on the 2007 ALMS schedule turned into a very short afternoon for the team's #18 Bell Micro Porsche GT 2 program. After starting seventh on the GT 2 grid on the streets of Long Beach Tom Milner moved from seventh to fifth before encountering problems 17 minutes into the 100 minute event. The 21-year old native of Washington, Virginia lost control of the Porsche exiting Turn 9 when the rear-end of the car broke away. After backing into the wall the #18 Bell Micro Porsche was unable to continue due to damage.

"It was really unfortunate I backed the car into the wall because we made some changes after qualifying yesterday and the car was very fast in morning warm-up we were second fastest so the changes we made on Friday night paid off, " said Milner. "The crowds were amazing and the atmosphere in Long Beach was incredible. I just hope that we can have a clean, trouble-free race next Saturday in Houston."

On Friday afternoon with only 45-minutes of allotted practice, Ralf Kelleners qualified the #18 Bell Micro Porsche seventh on the GT 2 starting grid for the Saturday afternoon race.

"We didn't get a whole lot of track-time prior to qualifying, said Ralf Kelleners. "We qualified seventh but made some changes on Friday night that definitely made the car faster. On Saturday's warm-up the car was much better and we were confident going into the race. Tom improved two spots before he made contact and was working his way through the GT 2 competitors. If we had gone the distance I think we would have shown steady improvement throughout the race. We'll have to get ready for Houston using a positive attitude and show that our best races are still to come."

At the top of the GT 2 results in Long Beach were Jaime Melo and Mika Salo winning their third straight race for Ferrari and Risi Competizione. The class championship leaders were five seconds ahead of the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche of Patrick Long and Darren Law. Third was the second Risi Ferrari, that one driven by Anthony Lazzaro and Nic Jonsson. The RLR trio of Milner and Kelleners were credited with 12th place.

The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Lone Star Grand Prix at Houston's JAGFlo Speedway at Reliant Park, set for 5:30 p.m. CDT on Saturday, April 21. The race will be broadcast on CBS Sports at 1 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 29. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA's Live Timing and Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.

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