Olivier Beretta and David Saelens set a new record for the Panoz marque in the American Le Mans Series by recording their fifth consecutive podium finish at Miami's Grand Prix Americas today. After starting from position seven on the grid,...
Olivier Beretta and David Saelens set a new record for the Panoz marque in the American Le Mans Series by recording their fifth consecutive podium finish at Miami's Grand Prix Americas today.
After starting from position seven on the grid, Saelens made strong progress at the start to charge up to third place before pitting after 53 minutes.
The team had originally intended to run longer before pitting, but Saelens had to be treated by track medical officials after suffering heat exhaustion and dehydration.
Beretta completed a marathon double-stint to complete the race and record the fifth podium in a row for the European duo.
Their fifth podium toppled the previous record of four podiums in a row set by David Brabham and Jan Magnussen in 2001.
While the the #10 JML Team Panoz entry enjoyed an outstanding finish, the weekend for the #11 Panoz of Scott Maxwell and Gunnar Jeannette continued to be difficult.
After missing qualifying yesterday because of a practice crash, the #11 car was forced to start from the back of the pack.
Maxwell made strong progress at the start, completing 90 minutes in the car before handing over to Jeannette.
The duo looked set to claim fourth in class before Jeannette suffered a late race crash while negotiating his way through traffic.
Although still mobile, the car lost its rear wing and bodywork and was forced to retire.
JML Team Panoz will now set its sights on the final round of the 2003 American Le Mans Series, the prestigious Petit Le Mans on October 18 at Road Atlanta.
OLIVIER BERETTA "David pushed very hard at the start and really did a great job.
"Although he paid for it physically, that really set the race up for us.
"From that point on I just had to be very careful with the traffic and keep out of trouble for the remainder of the race.
"The car was really strong throughout the entire day and I was quite pleased because we did not get a lot of time to put miles on the car on Friday.
"For the last 10 minutes it started to rain and it was very difficult to stay out there on slicks and keep the car off the wall.
"Getting our fifth podium in a row is a real credit for all the guys and I can't wait to get back in the car for Petit Le Mans."
"This certainly hasn't turned out the be the weekend I was hoping for.
"Scott did an excellent job in his opening stint and we were able to keep out of trouble and dodge a lot of carnage which was going on out there.
"Unfortunately, I lost the rear of the car after I got waived through by a slower car coming into the fountain part of the track and the rear went away when I hit the brakes and I hit the wall.
"We were looking good for fourth in class which would have been a great result.
"I am certainly disappointed, but I just have to try and put this behind me and get ready for Petit Le Mans."
"We certainly had a very good weekend and breaking the record for podiums is nice for Oli and me.
"I certainly was feeling very bad when I got out the car and Oli did an outstanding job to complete the race and get through onto the podium again.
"He nearly drove two hours which is pretty tough on a track like this.
"Our Michelin tires worked very well here and that certainly helped Oli during his stint.
"I have to thank the medical staff for their help today in getting some fluid back into my system and a real credit has to go to the crew who had to repair two race cars after yesterday - they really have had a tough weekend."
"Getting through traffic was certainly extremely tough from the back of the grid.
"I was trying to be careful but concentrating on not going too slow to try to avoid being caught out by the leaders.
"In the end the traffic was not as bad as I had anticipated - but you still had to be very careful.
"The rest of the field was actually pretty cooperative and tried to run a clean race.
"We still had a fair amount of understeer but it was pretty good run at the start.
"The race was certainly very tough physically - I was pretty tired when I got out - it wasn't an easy stint.
"You can't relax anywhere here, because their is no real straights anywhere."