JML Team Panoz are on the comeback trail after suffering two crashes during opening practice of round eight of the American Le Mans Series at Miami's Grand Prix Americas today. Both Olivier Beretta and Gunnar Jeannette suffered damage to the...
JML Team Panoz are on the comeback trail after suffering two crashes during opening practice of round eight of the American Le Mans Series at Miami's Grand Prix Americas today.
Both Olivier Beretta and Gunnar Jeannette suffered damage to the rear of their Panoz LMP-01 machines, Jeannette's #11 car coming off worse for wear.
While Beretta and David Saelens missed the second practice session, the car of Jeannette and Scott Maxwell will now be forced to start from the rear of the grid in tomorrow's 2 hour, 45 minute race.
Both cars suffered rear wing and bodywork damage, while the #11 machine also faced extensive gearbox repairs, eliminating it from the rest of today's action.
Belgian driver David Saelens faced a tough job during the single 20-minute qualifying session to not only learn the track, but to set a qualifying time.
Saelens did not get a chance to drive the car during the morning practice before Beretta suffered his accident.
Damp early conditions made life tough with both Beretta and Jeannette losing the rear of the car.
Saelens qualified seventh fastest but is expected to start from the third row of the grid tomorrow after the MG Lola of Jon Field and Duncan Dayton suffered a huge crash during qualifying - bringing out the red flag and further restricting Saelens track time.
All four Panoz drivers will have their final chance to try the track tomorrow morning at the 8.50am warm-up before the race kicks off at 4.00pm tomorrow afternoon.
"This morning was very difficult because we were out on slicks and it was half wet and half dry. I moved off-line to try and pass a Porsche and slid off the road and damaged the rear wing. "It has been quite a difficult day with the weather, but the guys did a great job to get the car back out in time for David for qualifying. "Traffic is always tough in the American Le Mans Series, but it is probably all the more important at this race track because it is so narrow and there are not many places to pass. "Patience is going to be the secret tomorrow - pushing to hard can really get you in trouble."
"Miami is sort of a homecoming for me, but today was certainly wasn't what I expected or what I had hoped for. "I got in about seven or eight laps and there was a dry line, but it was still a bit damp off-line. "I got a bit sideways going past the fountain and the car slid onto a bit of damp track and slid pretty hard into the wall. "It was pretty disappointing, because it hit the same corner where Ben (Leuenberger) crashed at Laguna Seca. "I hate to put the guys to work, but they are doing a great job and we will be back on track tomorrow. "We will have to start from the back of the grid, but Scott and I are still determined to get a good result tomorrow."
"After the problems of this morning it was great to get the car back on track and full credit must go to the guys on the team. "It was certainly a tough situation because we missed a lot of track time and I had to learn the track as well as try to set a qualifying time. "We are in the race so that is the main thing. Tomorrow is going to be very tough especially if we have some damp weather again. "Oli and I will be going for a record five podiums in a row in the Panoz, but we are not here to set records, we are here to do the best job we can every week. "It will be nice if we can pull it off after all the work that the guys have put in today."
"It has been a very tough day for the guys on both cars and Gunnar and I certainly have a difficult job tomorrow coming from the back. "I only had the chance to do a few laps before Gunnar got in the car, but the circuit is certainly very unique. "There are some parts of the circuit where it is impossible to pass so I will have to be very patient at the start of the race and try and get through the pack without damaging the car or messing up somebody else's race in the other classes. "It is going to be very easy to get tangled up with somebody and put yourself out of the race. "This track is certainly a challenge, but it is a great venue for the fans and I am still looking forward to tomorrow."