Panoz wins at Nurburgring

Australian star David Brabham has broken through for his first victory of the year, toppling the German marques BMW and Audi on home soil in round four of the Le Mans Series at the Nurburgring overnight. Teamed with Jan Magnussen, the Panoz duo...

Australian star David Brabham has broken through for his first victory of the year, toppling the German marques BMW and Audi on home soil in round four of the Le Mans Series at the Nurburgring overnight.

Teamed with Jan Magnussen, the Panoz duo dominated the event in teaming rain, holding out the BMW of Jorg Muller and JJ Lehto - the winners of the past two Le Mans Series races.

Magnussen was the early star, charging past the two Audis on the front row to grab the lead.

The treacherous weather caught out many drivers including Audi's Alan McNish who crashed after 84 laps.

The BMW of Jean Marc Gounon and Bill Auberlen were also significantly delayed after wiping off their rear wing in a crash.

Muller and Lehto nearly stole the race in the final hour after only stopping for fuel, but not tyres, at the final pit stop.

The strategy did not pay off with Muller running off the track and losing the lead to Magnussen with only 17 minutes of the 1000km race remaining.

"We really got the strategy right today and it is great to be back in the winner's circle," Brabham said.

"The weather was really atrocious and it was a tough job to even keep the car on the track.

"At one stage I had to change lines on the front straight to pass a slower car and ended up on grass - I thought it was nearly all over at that stage.

"It was also touch and go in the last hour but Jan did a fantastic job today.

"It has been nearly 10 months since we have had a win and to beat the German teams on their home track is a brilliant result for our team."

Audi Le Mans 24 Hour winners Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro finished third while the second Panoz finished in fourth place with Johnny O'Connell, Hiroki Katoh and local German star Klaus Graf behind the wheel.

The Viper team again dominated in the GTS division with Beretta, Wendlinger and Duez taking the win.

Dirk Muller and Lucas Luhr took the GT victory while the Australian Skea Racing team finished second with Brit Johnny Mowlem and American David Murry teaming up.

The runner-up spot for the Australian-owned team follows its 2nd placings at the Sebring 12-Hour and Le Mans 24-Hour. <pre> RESULTS - PROTOTYPE DIVISION - 1000km (5 hours/45 minutes) 1. - David Brabham/Jan Magnussen - Panoz - 185 laps 2. - Jorg Muller/JJ Lehto - BMW - - 1m33.627 secs 3. - Frank Biela/Emanuele Pirro - Audi - down 3 laps 4. - Johnny O'Connell/Hiroki Katoh/Klaus Graf - Panoz - down 4 laps 5. - Franck Montagny/Marc Gousens - Cadillac - down 4 laps

GTS DIVISION 1. - Olivier Beretta/Karl Wendlinger/Marc Duez - Dodge Viper - down 10 laps

GT DIVISION 1. - Dirk Muller/Lucas Luhr - Porsche GT3 R - down 16 laps

Paul Ryan ryan@panoz.com.au

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Dirk Müller , Jan Magnussen , Frank Biela , Karl Wendlinger , Franck Montagny , Klaus Graf , Johnny O'Connell , David Murry , Jorg Muller , Bill Auberlen , Lucas Luhr , Ryan Paul , Johnny Mowlem , Olivier Beretta , Marc Duez , Jean Marc Gounon , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto , Hiroki Katoh