Maassen/Luhr Clinch 2003 ALMS GTt Drivers title with victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca; Petersen Motorsports scores third podium with Mowlem/Stanton MONTEREY, Calif. -- September 7 -- Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr scored Mtheir fourth win of...
Maassen/Luhr Clinch 2003 ALMS GTt Drivers title with victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca; Petersen Motorsports scores third podium with Mowlem/Stanton
MONTEREY, Calif. -- September 7 -- Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr scored Mtheir fourth win of the season and clinched the American Le Mans Series MGT drivers championship with a victory at the Fry's Electronics Sports MCar Championship in their Alex Job Racing cKenna mail2web Porsche 911 MGT3 RS at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca..
The GT class was actually settled early in the race when the other Alex Job Racing Porsche being driven by Tim Bernhard starting losing voltage, and Maassen was able to pass his teammate and take over first place. With only 30 minutes gone in the event, t he Bernhard/Bergmeister car had to spend ten minutes in the pits to replace the alternator, and Sascha built a two-lap lead over the rest of the field.
"I don't think I could have passed Timo easily if his car didn't have problems," said Maassen, who now has 20 class wins as ALMS' winningest driver.
"But once we got by him, it was just a matter of staying out of trouble and running steady laps," said Maassen.
"Once Sascha gave me the car, it was like a Sunday cruise -- even with an extra pit stop due to a flat-spotted tire with 45 minutes to go. We still had a one-lap lead after the stop," said Luhr, who shares his second straight drivers title with Maassen.
With only 46 points left to be earned for wins over the final two ALMS events (Miami and Petit Le Mans), the pair have built up a 50-point lead over Bernhard/Bergmeister, thus clinching their drivers title.
In third place at Laguna Seca, and taking over the next two spots in the point standings behind the Alex Job quartet are the White Lighning/Petersen Motorsport drivers Johnny Mowlem and Craig Stanton, whose Porsche finished third. With their win at Le Man s (in a car prepared jointly with Alex Job Racing), a second at Sebring, and a win two weeks ago at Road America, the Las Vegas-based team owned by Michael Petersen and Dale White have had quite a season. Stanton was chasing down the Alex Job cars early i n the event, but contact with one of the Audi prototypes pushed him off the track and he flat-spotted his tires, losing valuable time to the leaders. Mowlem made up enough time after their pit stop to finish third, but could not catch Maassen/Luhr or the second-place Ferrari.
Fourth, with their best finish of the season, was the #60 PK Sport Porsche 911 GT3 RS, with Robin Liddell/Alex Caffi sharing the driving duties. Their efforts for a podium finish were thwarted by early tire problems necessitating an early pit stop. Fifth was the first of the three The Racer's Group Porsches to finish in the top ten -- the Kevin Buckler/Cort Wagner Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
The last two races for the 2003 American Le Mans Series are the Miami Grand Prix on Saturday, September 27, and Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Saturday, October 18. Both races will be telecast live on The Speed Channel, including all ten hours of Petit Le Mans.