Panoz podium fight falls short at Laguna Seca, Panoz Motor Sports strong challenge for a podium result in round eight of the 2002 American Le Mans Series unfortunately fell short today at California's Laguna Seca raceway. After starting from...
Panoz podium fight falls short at Laguna Seca,
Panoz Motor Sports strong challenge for a podium result in round eight of the 2002 American Le Mans Series unfortunately fell short today at California's Laguna Seca raceway.
After starting from positions six and seven on the grid, both Panoz "Spirit of America" machines made strong early progress with Jan Magnussen and Bill Auberlen behind the wheel.
Shortly before the final round of pitstops, Panoz held third and fourth on the leader board with David Brabham and Bryan Herta now behind the wheel.
However, both cars faded in the last third of the race with Herta forced to make an extra stop after flat-spotting a tire with a late race spin.
"It was certainly a tough day at the office and disappointing to fade towards the end because the car was really strong for the first half of the race," Brabham said.
"Jan did a great job at the start and I managed to get past both Cadillacs once I got in the car.
"But as the race wore on, we couldn't hold that pace. A spot on the podium would have been a fantastic result after a tough weekend but we will now set our sights on Miami in two weeks."
Herta showed his renown Laguna Seca prowess to move up to third after both he and Brabham had completed their final pit stops, but his spin took the #51 Panoz out of podium contention.
"It would have been great to get our car home ahead of David and Jan after beating them in qualifying, but it wasn't to be," Herta said.
"I was pushing really hard because I just got past the Cadillac to get third as he was coming out of the pits but the car got loose going into a corner.
"I caught it, then it came around on me again. Obviously I am disappointed but the one positive aspect is that Bill and I have been able to push the other car hard all weekend.
"That competition will continue to drive everybody in the team harder to get these cars back on the podium."
Round nine of the American Le Mans Series is scheduled in two weeks time at Miami (October 5), followed by Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on October 12.