Dyson Racing's Lola-MG remained the fastest car overall, while an intriguing GTS class battle raged, in Thursday night's two hours of official 'after dark' practice for Saturday's Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

James Weaver, who will share the Dyson machine with Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace, turned a lap of 1min 12.459secs to lead the night-time practice session both overall and in the LMP 675 class, and completed a full-house for the junior prototype squad after team-mates Wallace and Leitzinger had each also led a session in the blue-and-white machine.

Second fastest overall, and leading the LMP 900 class for the first time, was the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8 of Marco Werner and Frank Biela, which set a best time of 1min 12.729secs to edge in front of the rival R8 fielded by ADT Champion Racing. Third place in the big prototype class went to the lead Panoz of David Saelens, Olivier Beretta and Max Papis, but the front-engined car was only sixth overall, behind the Lola LMP675 machines of Dyson/Block/de Radigues and Field/Dayton/Conner.

Johnny O'Connell, driving a Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, blasted from fourth in the GTS class to first in the waning moments of the session, after turning the fastest lap in class of 1min 19.794secs. This moved the US car ahead the sister C5-R piloted by Oliver Gavin, Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins, and kept both Corvettes ahead of their close rivals, Prodrive Ferrari, which took third and fourth in class, just a tenth of two adrift.

Leading the GT class once again was the title-winning Alex Job Racing Porsche of Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen, whose time of 1min 23.033secs was good enough to see off the challenge of AJR team-mates Jorg Bergmeister, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas.

Official qualifying for the Petit Le Mans will be held on Friday afternoon.



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