It has been a busy few weeks for competitors in both the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. Teams have been criss-crossing the country, taking advantage of the summer season in order to complete the majority of their schedules. This weekend, Aug. 30-31, is no exception as the ALMS series returns to the streets of Baltimore for the Grand Prix of Baltimore.
Although the Extreme Speed Motorsports team has made a couple changes in the past week, these changes have not shaken their stride as they compete for the final ALMS championship in 2013. For the second consecutive American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón race this season, Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) has earned a front-row starting position by earning the second and third quickest P2 qualifying lap times on Friday, Aug. 30.
Piloting the No. 02 Tequila Patrón Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b, Johannes van Overbeek was fastest of the P2 drivers for the majority of the 15-minute qualifying session. In the closing moments, van Overbeek was bumped to the second position by less than a half-second. En route to the second position in class and fourth overall, van Overbeek lapped the 2.04-mile, 12-turn temporary street circuit in 1:27.669.
“The No. 02 car has been good,” added van Overbeek. “We’ve been challenged with the brakes on the car this weekend, which we’ve never had an issue with before. So, I think I left some on the table in the braking, which is unfortunate. We made good progress with the set-up and Ed has made great progress driving through these Baltimore streets.”
Co-driver Ed Brown will drive the first stint during the race, and van Overbeek will drive for the second half of the event.
During the second practice on Friday, Scott Sharp made contact with the concrete barrier and damaged to the No. 01 Tequila Patrón Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03. The incident required the team to replace the gearbox and reassemble the race car before qualifying. Sharp then set the third quickest lap of the P2 field during qualifying with a lap time of 1:27.818, a less than two-tenths behind van Overbeek.
“I’m really happy with the time,” stated team owner/driver Scott Sharp. “I really didn’t think I could run that fast just based on where we were in the last practice session. Even though I was fastest at the time, I crashed the car, I just felt like I put such a workload on the guys. They did a miraculous job; they changed the gearbox, suspension, a bunch of body work and got the car back just perfect and right.”
For Sunday’s two-hour sprint Anthony Lazzaro will drive the first stint and Sharp will race to the checkered flag.
The two-hour Grand Prix of Baltimore is the seventh round of the 10-race American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón (ALMS) championship and takes place on Aug. 30-31.
The race will be streamed live starting at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday Aug. 31 on ESPN3. The race will be televised at noon ET on Sunday, Sept. 1 on ABC.
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