Maassen heats up on the first lap, grabs ALMS Gt Pole at Laguna; Alex Job Porsche also second on grid despite Bernhard spin; race on NBC-TV Sunday MONTEREY, Calif. - September 6 - Sascha Maassen told a media gathering earlier this week that the...
Maassen heats up on the first lap, grabs ALMS Gt Pole at Laguna; Alex Job Porsche also second on grid despite Bernhard spin; race on NBC-TV Sunday
MONTEREY, Calif. - September 6 - Sascha Maassen told a media gathering earlier this week that the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit was his favorite track in North America, and he seemed to tell all his competitors in qualifying today that no one will be a ble to catch his Alex Job Racing McKenna mail2web Porsche 911 GT3 RS as Maassen eclipsed the GT class record while putting his car on the pole for tomorrow's Fry's Electronics Sports Car Championships.
Maassen, the winningest driver in American Le Mans Series history with 18 wins - and the only driver to win events in all five ALMS seasons - said the perfect weather conditions and his fast-warming Michelins propelled him to his early pole-setting time.
"I turned my pole time on the very first fast lap of the session, as the tires heated up more quickly than usual," said Maassen, with, with co-driver Lucas Luhr, leads the ALMS GT point standings by 32 points after six events.
"When teammate Timo Berhard went out later in the session to try to overtake my time, I went back out to lower my time, but that first lap stayed as the fastest," he said.
Maassen's time also broke the qualifying record set in 2001 by J.J. Lehto in the now-outlawed BMW V-8.
Typically, most teams turn a minimum number of qualifying laps as the rules state they must start the race on the same tires with which they qualify. GT teams usually run more than an hour and a quarter before they pit, so the tires must last until then.
Second was the Alex Job Racing Porsche with Timo Bernhard qualifying the car that he and Jorg Bergmeister will drive. Bernhard spun the car early in the qualifying session, breaking some fiberglass and falling to 13th in class, but, after a quick check-up in the pits, came back to qualify second. Third on the grip will be the White Lightning Petersen Motorsports Porsche of Johnny Mowlem/Craig Stanton, who won the most recent ALMS GT event two weeks ago at Road America.
Other Porsches which qualified in the top ten included the J3 Racing Porsche of Justin Jackson/David Murry (fifth); the Orbit Racing Porsche of Leo Hindery/Peter Baron (sixth); the PK Sport Porsche of Robin Liddell/Alex Caffi (seventh); The Racer's Group Porsche of Kevin Buckler/Cort Wagner (eighth); and The Racer's Group Porsche of Chris Gleason/Mark Bunting (tenth).
The Monterey Grand Prix will be broadcast live on NBC-TV starting at 4:00 PM Eastern Daylight time on Sunday, September 7 - a two-hour show. The entire 2-hour, 45-minute event will be broadcast live online on the American Le Mans Radio Web, which can be a ccessed on the Web at www.americanlemans.com. Live timing and scoring for the race are also available at www.americanlemans.com on Sunday.