DERBYSHIRE, England - April 13, 2001 -- The two Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS' will start tomorrow's European round of the American Le Mans Series at Donington Park in England from second and third places on the grid, after German ...
DERBYSHIRE, England - April 13, 2001 -- The two Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS' will start tomorrow's European round of the American Le Mans Series at Donington Park in England from second and third places on the grid, after German drivers Chri stian Menzel and Lucas Luhr starred in the single 30-minute qualifying session.
Menzel led the challenge to the rapid V-8 factory BMW, coming within 0.3 of a second of the M3's pole time.
"I think this is a very big success for Porsche," said Menzel. "The difference to the BMW is small and we have reason to be happy."
Menzel admitted that his lap was not perfect as he encountered traffic on both his best attempts.
"It wasn't a big problem, it only cost a tenth of a second or two," he commented. Both Menzel and team mate Lucas Luhr, who qualified AJR's other car pleased team boss Job.
"I'm pleased with second and third," said Job. "Chris was quite pleased with his car, though Lucas wasn't happy with the handling balance on his."
Both Job and Menzel are aware that tomorrow's race will be a tough one.
"There's no doubt it will be hard," said Job, "we can't out-run the BMWs, I'm pretty sure of that, but fuel economy could be a factor and we know the BMW is thirsty. We need a perfect race and quick pit stops."
Alex Job pointed out that, even if his cars can finish the race with only one fuel stop, and the BMWs need two stops, the Porsche cannot make up the expected one-second-a-lap speed difference of the course of the event. And it is possible the Porsches wil l have to stop twice as well.
Menzel and co-driver Randy Pobst in one AJR car and Luhr and Sascha Maassen in the other face two BMWs tomorrow. The pole-winning Fredrik Ekblom/Dirk Muller M3 will be joined by a second, to be driven by JJ Lehto and Jorg Muller, which missed today's quali fying session because of an engine problem and will start at the back of the pack.
Luhr, Maassen and the AJR crew will now work to get the #23 car handling more to the drivers' taste for tomorrow's race. "I guess we will have to come up with a solution and try it in the warm-up tomorrow morning, but time's running out," said Luhr.
British Porsche drivers showed well in the session, with factory driver Johnny Mowlem fourth fastest in the Seikel Motorsport 911 GT3 R he is sharing with Tony Burgess. The British-based 911 GT3 R of PK Motorsport, driven by Mike Youles and Robin Liddell was next up. Liddell set the time and the PK car will start fifth on the grid.
The race is set for tomorrow, Saturday, April 14, at 7:10 AM Eastern, for two hours and 45 minutes. The ELMS Donington Park event will be telecast on NBC-TV with same day coverage starting at 4:00 PM Eastern time on Saturday, April 14 (check local time and listing in your area). The race, along with the qualifying session starting April 13, will be broadcast live on the Le Mans Radio Network, which can be accessed on the Web at www.americanlemans.com. That same American Le Mans Series web site will also have live timing and scoring during qualifying and the race event.
The official Porsche web site -- www.porsche.com -- will have qualifying information on the Donington Park event for all the Porsches entered, and will file stories before and after the race. Porsche web site users should choose "North America" on the home page when prompted to choose a country, then choose "motorsports," then "motorsport news" to find the ALMS updates.
Other web sites that will follow the overall event include the American Le Mans site mentioned above, the ON TRACK ONLINE site, (www.ontrackonline.com), The Race Site (www.theRaceSite.com), Racing Lines (www.racinglines.com), the Speedvision site (www.spee dvision.com), Motorsport.com (www.motorsport.com) and the CompuServe site (www.motorsportsforum.com).
<pre> Here are the qualifying times for the GT class:
Donington Park GT Class Qualifying
Pos Drivers Car Time
1. Ekblom/D. Muller BMW M-3 V-8 1:33.724 2. Pobst/Menzel Porsche 911 GT3 RS 1:34.013 3. Luhr/Maassen Porsche 911 GT3 RS 1:34.341 4. Burgess/Mowlem Porsche 911 GT3 RS 1:36.185 5. Youles/Liddell Porsche 911 GT3 RS 1:36.585 6. Rosa/Drudi Porsche 911 GT3 RS 1:37.404 7. Wankum/Foster Porsche 911 GT3 RS 1:37.823 8. Forgeois/Sourd/Caternet Porsche 911 GT3 RS 1:38.924 9. Masarati/Humphrey Porsche 911 GT3 RS 1:39.492 10. Orti/Villarroel Porsche 911 GT3 R 1:39.774 11. Hayden/Earle Porsche 911 GT3 RS 1:41.118 12. Lehto/J. Muller BMW M-3 V-8 Did not qualify