Michelin Teams Sweep Top 10; Claim All Four Poles and Class Wins MONTEREY, CALIF. (October 18, 2008) - Michelin and its technical partner teams closed out the 2008 American Le Mans Series season in great style with a perfect weekend at Mazda ...
Michelin Teams Sweep Top 10; Claim All Four Poles and Class Wins
MONTEREY, CALIF. (October 18, 2008) - Michelin and its technical partner teams closed out the 2008 American Le Mans Series season in great style with a perfect weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, winning all four poles, and classes, sweeping the top- ten overall positions and celebrating every manufacturer, team, driver and tire championship the series awards. The impressive new Michelin® "street soft" tires again played a key role in the outcome of the race.
AUDI 1-2 Overcoming a lowly 10th place starting position to lead an impressive 1-2 Audi finish was the Audi R10 TDI diesel of series champions Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner. Finishing second in his final ALMS start was the popular Emanuele Pirro, joined by newcomer Christian Albers
"The tires were one of the biggest keys to the race," said Werner. "We chose the Michelin "street soft" tire for the race. It was warmer yesterday for qualifying, but it was the right choice for the race. Thanks to Michelin, the "street soft" tires helped decide the win for us today."
ANDRETTI GRENN SCORES AGAIN Scoring a second win in three races, XM Andretti Green Acura's Franck Montagny teamed with Tony Kanaan atop the LMP2 class podium. Kanaan withstood a sensational charge from Simon Pagenaud aboard the Panasonic de Ferran Acura as they exchanged a pair of passes and re-passes in a dramatic sequence in the final minutes. Pagenaud crossed the line just .054 of a second adrift. "We had a hard fight. We both played nice and clean, so it was fun and a great battle," said Kanaan.
MAKING A POINT After eight months, 11 races and several thousand miles of racing, just a single point decided the epic 2008 LMP2 class manufacturer championship between Porsche and Acura. The third place class finish by the DHL Penske Porsche RS Spyder of series champions Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard secured the title for Porsche with 214 points and five wins to Acura's 213 points and six wins.
Porsche's 220 points and five GT2 wins also prevailed in the GT2 manufacturer battle over Ferrari's 215 points and six wins. "There is no better racing around the world than what we see here in the P2 and GT2 competition in the American Le Man Series," said Hartmut Kristen, head of Porsche Motorsport.
OLLIES TAKE GT1 VICTORY Olivier Beretta scored an unprecedented 40th victory in the 99 race history of the ALMS, and co-driver Oliver Gavin, scored his 31st, as the GT1 version of the Corvette C6.R made its final start at Laguna Seca. Corvette has announced plans to move to the GT2 class in the second half of the 2009 ALMS season.
FOUR FOR TAFEL FERRARI Completing a breakout season in ALMS, the Tafel Ferrari 430GT of Dirk Mueller and Dominik Farnbacher scored their fourth win of the season and locked down second place in the GT2 team championship, Finishing second was the Risi Ferrari of defending series champions Jaime Melo and Mika Salo.
DIRTY DOZEN An extraordinary dozen full course caution periods disrupted the flow of the four-hour race; all but one was due to cars trapped off-course in the deep sand pits now lining the 2.238-mile circuit for motorcycle competition. The fine sand being blown or dragged unto the track surface made re-starts especially challenging according to the drivers.
Michelin COMMENT "This was a great way to end the 2008 American Le Mans Series season," said Silvia Mammone, Michelin motorsports manager. "The fact that our teams were able to be successful on a very slippery track is a compliment to our technical partner teams, drivers, and our Michelin tire engineers. Obviously the success of the Michelin "street soft" tires has given us some interesting ideas to pursue for next year."