Sears Point: JML Team Panoz qualifying report

The ...

The #10 and #11 JML Team Panoz machines endured contrasting luck in today's opening practice for round three of the 2003 American Le Mans Series at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California today.

While the #10 machine of Olivier Beretta and Gunnar Jeannette completed a trouble free run, the #11 car of David Saelens and Benjamin Leuenberger suffered a tough session.

Beretta and Jeannette were 6th fastested today but battery problems hindered the #11 machine.

Saelens and Leuenberger failed to officially set a time due to a battery-related timing transponder failure. Unofficial team timing placed the #11 car in 7th place on the day.

While Saelens was able to record a fast lap early in the session, Leuenberger was not as fortunate. The Swiss driver suffered gear-shifting problems after getting in the car and was unable to record a competitive lap.

OLIVIER BERETTA

"I haven't raced here since 2000 and they have changed the track a bit and the facilities have been dramatically improved. "The track feels a little more bumpy than before, but this is my first time in an LMP900 car here and these cars are far more stiffly sprung.

"We were able to work on the car throughout the entire session without any major problems. Both Gunnar and I were able to get in plenty of laps so that was a bonus.

"I have a bit of power understeer and there doesn't feel like there is a lot of rubber on the track. We will spend a lot of time looking at the data to try to improve for tomorrow."

GUNNAR JEANNETTE

"The session went OK for us and we have a decent base straight off the truck but we still have a lot of time to come.

"The car is moving around a little more than we would like and we have to dial out a bit of understeer - really there are about four or five little things we can work on to try to improve the car for tomorrow - but that is what the opening practice is all about

"The weather was hot today and it will be interesting to see what happens on raceday. We had a little bit of rain before the session but we will have to wait and see."

DAVID SAELENS

"The car had a very good balance at the start of the session and I made a change after I started to learn the track and that showed on the stop watch.

"The basics were good and we just needed some more running time to try some more changes. However, things didn't quite work out for us and we had some problems when Ben got in.

"The car is really comfortable in the fast corners and we improved the front of the car early in the session and that is where we can make even more progress."

BENJAMIN LEUENBERGER

"Unfortunately we had some problems today. David got in the car first and did an excellent job but by the time I got into the car we had a problem with the gear shifting - I couldn't shift up or down and that brought and end to our session.

"I am sure we can get everything sorted for tomorrow and I am looking forward to getting some laps under my belt in the Panoz. I was able to get some laps in a racing school car here earlier in the week and I really like the track. There is a great variety of corners and it is a real challenge."

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Saelens , Gunnar Jeannette , Benjamin Leuenberger , Olivier Beretta