Muscle Milk AMR: Front row start in Long Beach

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Muscle Milk AMR: Front row start in Long Beach

The battle for pole position on the streets of Long Beach was an exciting one, but the outcome saw Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing place second on the grid for Saturday's American Le Mans Series race.

Klaus Graf, who was aboard the Muscle Milk Aston Martin LMP1 car, was in a heated on-track fight with Guy Smith from Dyson Racing as both drivers exchanged pole position numerous times throughout the 15 minute qualifying session.

Smith was the first to set a fast lap that placed him atop the charts, right up until Graf took over that spot by more than half a second.

That was only the beginning though, as Smith and Graf both switched positions two more times before the Dyson Racing driver registered a blistering lap which ended up being just over four tenths of a second quicker than the German's best lap time of one minute 14.453 seconds.

Graf was however at a disadvantage coming into qualifying. He had only been able to do a handful of laps in the one and only practice session early Friday morning due to an issue with the car that cost him and the team valuable track time.

Despite the limited time in the Muscle Milk Aston Martin on the streets of Long Beach, Graf was pushing hard to better the pole setting lap of Smith in the final minutes of the session.

While we will never know, if it hadn't been for a small lock up of the wheels on his final lap - that caused the car to gently brush the wall and give it it's first real scratch - the outcome could have been different.

The final battle of the weekend goes green Saturday at 4:30 p.m. PT and will be streamed live on starting at 4:15 p.m. PT.

The American Le Mans Series at Long Beach race will be broadcast on tape-delay, Sunday, April 17 at 5:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Muscle Milk Quotes:

Klaus Graf, driver Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing
"It was very exciting. Obviously we missed a bit of practice time in the morning and considering that I'm very pleased. We went a lot faster than we did this morning and even if we're restricted from what this car was doing speed wise last year, we're still going really fast and that's very, very promising. Hats off to the guys, once again they did a great job.
"I think we have an awesome car for tomorrow and I look forward to the battle. The weather is great and what a beautiful weekend to go racing at Long Beach.
"(About his final attempt) It's so hard here to find the right brake pressure and to balance that perfectly. I was pushing really hard and over pressured the brakes a little bit so the rear stepped out and I lightly touched the wall. I don't know if it would have been good enough to beat Guy (Smith) but you try as hard as you can."

Lucas Luhr, driver Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing

"It was very good going out this morning. The circuit was really dirty and very slippery in the beginning but still Long Beach is one of my favorite racing circuits dirty or not! We did some good running in the beginning but then we had some issues with the car and lost a lot of track time there, unfortunately.
"Klaus did a really good job in qualifying. From my point of view he was really on it. He even had a slight 'kiss' with the wall on the left rear and that is just right for a street circuit.
"We are starting on the front row which is good and I look forward to starting the race tomorrow. I think we have a good racecar and strategy so we should be in good shape for the race."

Image: ALMS
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