The lead JML Team Panoz entry of Olivier Beretta, Gunnar Jeannette and Max Papis continued to fly the flag for the American manufacturer as the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hour hit the 18 hour mark. However, the brave challenge from the ...
The lead JML Team Panoz entry of Olivier Beretta, Gunnar Jeannette and Max Papis continued to fly the flag for the American manufacturer as the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hour hit the 18 hour mark.
However, the brave challenge from the #12 Panoz of Scott Maxwell, David Saelens and Benjamin Leuenberger unfortunately came to an end after a troubled morning.
While running in 9th place, Maxwell pitted at 5.30am and lost an hour in the pits with a broken front suspension. After the car was repaired, Maxwell returned to the track only to return 10 laps later at 7.24am with a driveshaft problem.
The Panoz crew spent 70 minutes repairing the car and Maxwell swapped over to David Saelens after another hour in the car.
Unfortunately, Saelens stint and the #12 challenge came to an end at the 18 hour mark when the Belgian ran over some debris, suffered a cut tire and finished in the tire barrier at the second chicane.
"It is really disappointing after all the work the guys put in to get the car back on track," team-mate, Benjamin Leuenberger said.
"The guys have worked really hard throughout the entire week and it is a real pity to fall out like this. The car was still very fast when we got back on track, but it wasn't to be."
The #11 Panoz continued strongly with Beretta, Jeannette and Papis all turning fast times in the effort to beat the best ever Panoz Le Mans finish of 5th from 2000.
"We are running our pace, in 6th and surprising a few people so far. I was able to run a triple on the soft compound during the night - Michelin has done a fantastic job for us," Papis said.
"We need to keep our composure and concentration right through to the finish. We have to keep pushing the guys in front of us, because the Courage behind us is also putting pressure on us as well.
"It is going to be an interesting last six hours."