INDIANAPOLIS, IN - September 29 -- After passing pole-sitter Jorg Bergmeister once and having to "take it back," Sascha Maassen re-passed him for good on lap ...
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - September 29 -- After passing pole-sitter Jorg Bergmeister once and having to "take it back," Sascha Maassen re-passed him for good on lap #6 of the 16-lap event to take the first of two Porsche-Pirelli Supercup races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend.
Maassen, who has won two American Le Mans Series races this year and will contend next weekend for the driver's championship at Road Atlanta, initally passed Bergmeister under a waving yellow flag caused by Marco Werner's spin and DNF, but let Jorg go by him before the lap was done and avoided a penalty from the officials. But, on the very first green lap after that, Masseen got by Bergmeister for good to score the victory.
"I was about to overtake Jorg when the yellow flag came out, and didn't see it, but I wondered why he didn't defend his position," said Maassen, who scored his second SuperCup win. "I had to be careful when I let Jorg back in front of me not to let Phillip Peter, who was in third place, by as well."
Right after Maassen took the lead, Wolf Henzler spun and hit the wall on the front striaght, bringing out the safety car and four laps under yellow. The course went green with one lap to go, and Maassen hung onto his lead for the win.
Bergmesiter was all smiles after the race as well since he clinched the 2001 Porsche-Pirelli Supercup driver's championship with the second place finish. With seven victories, two seconds and a third-place finish, Jorg's great year actually started the end of last year with a Sunday win at Indy in the 2000 Porsche-Pirelli Supercup event.
"Even though I won six other races this season, I think the most satisfying one was my season-opening victory at Imola in Italy. Now I hope the championship will help me make challenging plans for next season," he said.
The Americans in the race ran into various difficulties, with Sam Hornish, Jr., the recently-crown IRL champion, suffering a transmission problem, and fellow Porsche factory guest driver David Donohue, son of 1972 Indy 500 winner the late Mark Donohue, finishing eighth.
"I was barely able to avoid the multiple spins on the first lap, but had a hard time getting by Nicolas Kropp in a battle for 10th place. When I finally got by him, we had the safety car out and my tires - which I had been saving for the end of the race - got cold again during the four yellow laps and I was unable to advance any further," said Donohue.
Other American finishers included Gunnar Jeannette, from West Palm Beach, Florida (ninth); Goerge Frazier, from Porspect, Kentucky (11th), and Terry Lingner, the motorsports TV producer from Indianapolis, was 12th. Six cars did not finish.
The whole cast will be back on the 2.6-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course Sunday morning for the 12th and final round of the 2001 Porsche-Pirelli Supercup season.