Heartbreak for Panoz at Laguna Seca

Audi's run of victories continued in round ten of the Le Mans Series at Laguna Seca overnight, but Aussie star David Brabham was unlucky not to have recorded his second victory of the year with Jan Magnussen. Magnussen started the race from ...

Audi's run of victories continued in round ten of the Le Mans Series at Laguna Seca overnight, but Aussie star David Brabham was unlucky not to have recorded his second victory of the year with Jan Magnussen.

Magnussen started the race from position two and established a dominant lead ahead of the BMW of Jorg Muller and JJ Lehto.

He lost the lead briefly after being black flagged for making contact with a GT class car, but quickly re-established his dominance at the front end of the field.

But after leading for 50 laps, drama struck for the Panoz #1 car when it began to loose power. After Magnussen handed over to Brabham, the engine drama became progressively worse - eventually forcing the duo out of the event and handing victory to the Audi of Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello.

"The car was working so well, I had a great start and pulled away - I was surprised at how easy it was." Magnussen said.

"The whole weekend we have been working on our race set up and not worrying too much about qualifying and that really paid off."

After the car dropped off the pace, Brabham tried to nurse the car to the finish but was unsuccessful.

"I went out to try and get the car to the finish but was down on power right from the start of my stint," Brabham said.

"We are all disappointed as we had the fastest car out there at the start."

Further heartache struck later in the race when the #2 car of Hiroki Katoh crashed heavily. The Japanese driver was later treated at the circuit medical centre for bruising to his shoulders, but was released.

Audi's 1-2 result clinched the manufacturer's title for the German manufacturer, but the driver's title is still an open race with only two races to go including Le Mans Adelaide on December 29-31.

In the GTS division, the Dodge Viper's broke back into the winner's circle with Olivier Beretta and Karl Wendlinger leading home a pair of Chevrolet Corvettes.

In the GT class, BMW broke through for the first victory of the year with Boris Said and Hans Stuck tasting victory. It was the second time the BMW squad has been first across the line, but their Sears Point victory was disallowed because of a fuel tank infringement.

<pre> RESULT - PROTOTYPE DIVISION 1. - Allan McNish/Rinaldo Capello - Audi - 119 laps 2. - Emanuele Pirro/Frank Biela - Audi - 119 laps 3. - JJ Lehto/Jorg Muller - BMW - 119 laps 4. - Jean-Marc Gounon/Bill Auberlen - BMW - 116 laps 5. - Stefan Johansson/Guy Smith - Reynard - 116 laps

GTS DIVISION 1. - Olivier Beretta/Karl Wendlinger - Dodge Viper - 109 laps

GT DIVISION 1. - Boris Said/Hans Stuck - BMW M3 - 105 laps

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Stefan Johansson , Rinaldo Capello , Jan Magnussen , Allan McNish , Guy Smith , Frank Biela , Boris Said , Karl Wendlinger , Jorg Muller , Bill Auberlen , Jean-Marc Gounon , Olivier Beretta , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto , Hiroki Katoh