MULTIMATIC PANOZ DUO GRAB SECOND PLACE AT MID OHIO Lexington - OH (May 21st, 2006) Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz duo David Brabham and Scott Maxwell have continued their charge on the 2006 American Le Mans Series GT2 championship with...
MULTIMATIC PANOZ DUO GRAB SECOND PLACE AT MID OHIO
Lexington - OH (May 21st, 2006) Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz duo David Brabham and Scott Maxwell have continued their charge on the 2006 American Le Mans Series GT2 championship with second place today at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course.
Brabham charged into second position from fourth on the grid and staged a titanic battle with the Flying Lizard Porsche of Wolf Henzler.
The Australian Panoz star had to use all his experience to keep the rapid German behind -- the Porsche showing much faster straight-line speed. After 35 minutes, Henzler attacked at the end of the back straight -- making contact with #50 Panoz. While Brabham caught a dramatic slide, his rival was not as fortunate, spinning the Porsche.
Unfortunately, the race fell under safety car conditions after 76 minutes -- leaving the Brabham/Maxwell Panoz short of being able to complete the race on a single stop.
While most of the GT2 pack were able to pit straight away, the Multimatic squad were forced to wait to pit to ensure they could make it to the finish without an additional splash of fuel.
After their stop, the Panoz resumed in third place and Scott Maxwell later gained another spot when the leading Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long suffered a broken driveshaft.
Maxwell brought the car home with a solid second place -- the second podium finish in three races for the #50 Panoz Esperante GTLM. The #45 Porsche of Henzler and Johannes van Overbeek took the GT2 victory.
Panoz team-mates Gunnar Jeannette and Tom Milner were not as fortunate, the #51 Panoz again suffering from a return of the misfire issue which plagued the team in Houston.
Jeannette returned to the pits after the problem struck on his pre-race reconnaissance lap and the #51 car endured numerous long stints in the pits and behind the wall before having to retire.
"Second place was a great run for us today but we were a little unlucky with the timing of the first yellow flag period," Multimatic Motorsports Vice President and Motorsport's Technical Director, Larry Holt said.
"We could run 60 laps on a tank of fuel and the race went 119 laps -- that meant we had a fuel window of one lap to ensure we could do the race on a single stop. We had to wait when everybody else dived in when it went yellow.
"The Long/Bergmeister Porsche really checked out into the distance at the start but Brabs charged up to second and had a great race with Henzler -- that Porsche was all over us.
"Our car is really the equal or better than the Porsche through the turns -- but we were getting blown away on the straights. Brabs would be six car lengths clear coming out of the Carousel, but Henzler would be all over him at the end of the straight.
"Gunnar and Tom had ordinary luck again. The car ran like a dream all week but when the problem struck in the race the guys changed everything including the replacing the steering wheel which is full of electronics.
"It looks like it may actually be a problem with the fuel system which doesn't raise its head until we have full tanks for the race. We thought we had broken a valve spring at Houston, but it now appears it was this issue that was causing our misfire."
"We are pretty happy with second, that was probably about as good as we were going to get this weekend.
"I had a great race for second early but we dropped to third during the yellow flag period in the middle of the race because of our fuel strategy.
"Luckily for us, the leading Porsche dropped out and second place for Scotty and myself is great for points.
"We started the weekend miles off the pace, but the guys slowly but surely got the car better with every session.
"I had a great race with Henzler -- he gave me a good hit at one stage and actually spun. I had a big sideways slide but managed to catch it."
"I'm pretty happy with that result -- we weren't on the pace of the Porsches but second place is a good points haul for us.
"When I got in the car in the second half of the race I had a pretty boring stint -- the car behind was a lap adrift and the car ahead was virtually a lap up the road. I just had to concentrate on bringing it home.
"The guys will certainly be looking to find some pace before Lime Rock -- we need to improve to catch the Porsches at present.
"I really like the new repaving job they have done here at Mid Ohio -- it was a little slick but its very smooth and a great place to race."
"Tom and I are obviously pretty disappointed. The car started to misfire on the out lap and we never really did get to the source of the problem.
"The guys changed everything without success. Hopefully this is the end of our rough luck and we can look at getting back on track after Le Mans.
"The championship battle is going to be tough for us now, but Tom and I are certainly going to be going flat out for race wins.
"I know the guys are as disappointed as we are and they are going to burning the midnight oil to try to sort out what's happening."
"The problem for Gunnar started on his recon lap -- we were in the pits before the race actually started.
"The guys spent ages trying to solve the problem but unfortunately we had to retire the car in the end. The guys were still trying to search for the gremlin long after the race finished.
"When it would run fine, the Panoz was fantastic and we ended up with a fastest lap that was quicker than the #50 car.
"We hadn't had a problem all weekend but bad luck struck us again on race day.
"Gunnar and I seem to have had a run of little problems which keep ruining our race."