MICHELIN GUIDES CHAMPION PORSCHE TO VICTORY AT SIX HOURS OF THE GLEN 10th GT1 Victory for Michelin in 1998
(WATKINS GLEN, NY.) --- Thierry Boutsen and Ralf Kelleners, driving the STP Champion Porsche and guided by Michelin Pilot racing radials, captured the USRRC-sanctioned, Six-Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International. It is the 10th consecutive North American GT1 victory for Michelin. Eric Bernard, Raul Boesel and Andy Wallace finished second in GT1 in the Visteon Panoz GTR-1.
The No. 4 Visteon Panoz retired on lap eight after crashing in the esses. David Brabham and a GT3 car made contact and he wrecked hard. Brabham was uninjured, but the car suffered heavy damage. His co-driver, Wallace, moved to the No. 5 Panoz as he is still in contention for the USRRC driver's title.
"It was a long day of racing, but the Panoz and Champion Porsche teams did a great job and the Michelin tires performed perfectly for the entire six hours," said Herb Johnson," Director of Motorsports, Michelin North America. "Michelin Pilots proved their durability with a victory in the 24 hour race at Daytona and have demonstrated their grip and reliable handling during the rest of the season."
Watkins Glen was originally scheduled to be the final race of the USRRC season, however series officials are in discussions with Laguna Seca Raceway about running a final event at the Monterey, Calif. circuit in October. Boutsen leads Wallace 147-120 in driver's points and Porsche leads Panoz in manufacturer's points 79-76. Panoz is four points ahead of Porsche in team points 76-72. All points are provisional.
Wallace captured the GT1 pole with a record shattering time of 1:42.098=132.93 mph around the 11-turn, 3.77-mile natural road course. He broke his own record of 1:48.0551=125.602 set in 1997. Boutsen qualified second in GT1 with a time of 1:42.472=132.31 mph. Boesel qualified third with a time of 1:43.151=131.57 mph.
Michelin-equipped cars have started from the GT1pole in each of the five USRRC races this season and rolled into victory lane after the checkered flag flew at each race. Michelin began the season by claiming the GT1 class victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona with the Rohr Motorsports Porsche 911 GT1. Panoz won USRRC races at Homestead, Mid-Ohio and Minneapolis.
Michelin and Panoz are partnered for the entire 1998 North American GT racing season. They are running all Professional Sports Car and USRRC events. Champion is competing in all USRRC and select SPORTS CAR races.