Laguna Seca: Porsche Motorsport qualifying report

SASCHA MAASSEN'S PORSCHE RS SPYDER ON LMP2 POLE AT LAGUNA SECA ALMS FINALE; PORSCHE 911 GT3 RSRs SECOND AND THIRD ON ALMS GT2 CLASS GRID MONTEREY, Calif. - October 20 - Using what pole-sitter Sascha Maassen called a better track surface and ...

SASCHA MAASSEN'S PORSCHE RS SPYDER ON LMP2 POLE AT LAGUNA SECA ALMS FINALE; PORSCHE 911 GT3 RSRs SECOND AND THIRD ON ALMS GT2 CLASS GRID

MONTEREY, Calif. - October 20 - Using what pole-sitter Sascha Maassen called a better track surface and improved car performance the #6 Porsche RS Spyder, prepared by Penske Motorsports, will sit first on the LMP2 grid for tomorrow's American Le mans Series Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway.

The four-hour event, to be telecast live in prime time Saturday night on The SPEED channel (5:30 PM Eastern), is the final event of the 2006 American Le Mans Series.

Maassen, who broke the LMP2 class pole record he set a year ago by 1.6-seconds , said the newly-repaved Laguna Seca track surface help produce better grip, but it also presented new challenges.

"We had extensive data from our debut victory here last year, but we had to adjustour setup to the new surface," said Maassen, who won the class a year ago with long-time co-driver Lucas Luhr. This year, he is paired with Timo Bernhard as Porsche and Penske split up the pair in order to maximize the team's chance for a driver's championship.

As for the LMP2 track record is concerned, Sascha was willing to give the re-surfacing some credit, but not for all the margin for the new record today.

"I am willing to admit that the track surface helped- maybe three-tenths of a second, but the improvement of the car plus a good effort from the driver did the rest," he said.

Maassen said he likes Laguna Seca because it has no long straightaways, and the driver always has to make judgements to compromise absolute speed in one corner in order to set up a perfect line for the next turn.

The team #7 Porsche RS Spyder, with Romain Dumas handing the qualifying duties, was second in LMP2. Dumas will drive the event on Saturday with co-pilot Lucas Luhr, who trails Maassen by four points for the season drivers championship. If Lucas and Romain win, and Sascha and Timo finish second in LMP2, Sascha and Lucas will tie for the season title. The other car in contention, the Lola of Field/Halliday, had an off-track incident during morning practice, and did not record a qualifying time.

GT2 - Rockenfeller second, Bergmeister third in Porsches

Jorg Bergmeister, who has a shot to repeat as GT2 champion in his Petersen/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RSR with co-driver Patrick Long, qualified third on the GT2 grid behind Mike Rockenfeller in the Alex Job Porsche and the Risi Ferrari 430.

Bergmeister's position is even more significant as Johannes van Overbeek, who leads Jorg in the points, could not qualify as the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche team had to forego the qualifying session to change a clutch.

-credit: porsche motorsport

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Series ALMS
Drivers Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Jörg Bergmeister , Timo Bernhard , Romain Dumas , Mike Rockenfeller , Alex Job