The JML Team Panoz Trois Rivieres "rookies" made an impressive start to round four of the 2003 American Le Mans Series at the historic Quebec street circuit today. Canadian star Scott Maxwell is the only driver on the Panoz squad with prior ...
The JML Team Panoz Trois Rivieres "rookies" made an impressive start to round four of the 2003 American Le Mans Series at the historic Quebec street circuit today.
Canadian star Scott Maxwell is the only driver on the Panoz squad with prior experience at Trois Rivieres, but Oliver Beretta, David Saelens and Gunnar Jeannette all had impressive runs in their first outings today.
The #10 car of Beretta and Saelens finished today's practice session in 5th place with a time of 1:00.754 - a little over a second slower than the pace-setting Audi of Johnny Herbert and JJ Lehto.
Maxwell and Jeannette were 7th fastest at 1:01.425 and both Panoz LMP-01 machines got through the session without any major problems. The same could not be said for the Joest Audi of Marco Werner who crashed heavily during the session - bringing out the red flag.
JML Team Panoz will hit the track tomorrow for practice and qualifying before Sunday's 3 hour race.
Team members are hoping to celebrate their second victory of the weekend after the team's two race transporters won the "race" from Infineon Raceway to Trois Rivieres - a journey of more than 3000 miles - beating all other American Le Mans Series teams.
Like the race team itself, JML Team Panoz used two drivers in each of their speed-limited haulers to make the 52 hour journey across North America.
"I am very happy to be back in Canada in the ALMS because there is such a great atmosphere and lots of fans.
"Practice went very well for us today and we didn't have any major problems.
"This is a very special track - it is really nothing like the European street circuits like Monte Carlo of Pau.
"There is not a lot of grip out there because a lot of the corners are concrete but we worked hard throughout the session on damper changes to try and get more speed out of the car.
"We still have some power understeer and the car is sliding a little on corner entry under brakes but we will look at the data tonight to try and make further improvements."
"I really enjoy the track and have been having a great time out there.
"A lot of people told me it would be very bumpy, but it is not as bad as I had expected.
"We started really well straight off the truck and Olivier and I have adapted quite well to the circuit.
"We are working little by little to improve the car and generally we need to find a bit more front grip. If we can find this we should be even more competitive."
"I spent the first half of the session getting used to the Panoz again because it has been almost two months since I drove the car.
"I had to get used to the carbon brakes, paddle shift the outstanding grip from the Michelin tires - this car has a lot of luxuries which I had forgotten about.
"Trois Rivieres is a very special place with a lot of history and it is a very rewarding track if you can get a clean lap.
"Doing these two Canadian races is a big thrill for me and I can't wait for things to kick off on Sunday."
"This is the first street circuit I have raced on in the ALMS and I have had a lot of fun out there.
"Going down beneath the arch is a big buzz and the car is moving around a lot over the bumps, but the Panoz was pretty good to start with.
"You always seem to be hanging on the car around here and working your way through the traffic can be tough because the passing opportunities are very limited."