Panoz fastest at Laguna Seca

Panoz star Jan Magnussen temporarily broke Audi's stranglehold on the top of the Le Mans Series by driving to the provisional pole today for Sunday's round ten of the Championship at Laguna Seca Raceway. Magnussen, in the Paonoz LMP-1 Roadster...

Panoz star Jan Magnussen temporarily broke Audi's stranglehold on the top of the Le Mans Series by driving to the provisional pole today for Sunday's round ten of the Championship at Laguna Seca Raceway.

Magnussen, in the Paonoz LMP-1 Roadster he will co-drive with Australia's David Brabham, turned the 2.238-mile circuit in a track record time of 1:15.219, breaking the previous track ecord set last year by Eric Bernard.

A second round of qualifying will be held Saturday (U.S. time) to determine the starting lineup for the two-hour, 45-minute sports car endurance race.

"We've been close a couple of times to the Audis," said Magnussen.

"Its good to make the best of it today. The Audis had a big gap on us early in the year, but we are closing it down as the races go on.

"We switched to some Michelin hot weather tires during this morning's practice session but I didn't get a chance to try them then as David (Brabham) was in the car. They were good though and, after we made a small change, it was definitely the right way to go.

"I think the times will come down again tomorrow but am sure we have something in hand for then."

Italy's Rinaldo Capello, driving an Audi R8 that has won four of the last five ALMS races, was second-fastest in Friday's provisional qualifying with Audi teammate Frank Biela third.

Capello will co-drive with ALMS driver point leader Allan McNish of Scotland, while Biela will team with Emanuele Pirro of Italy.

Ron Fellows was fastest in the GTS class in a Chevrolet Corvette C5-R - the car he will share with Andy Pilgrim.

The Karl Wendlinger/Olivier Beretta Dodge Viper GTS was second fastest.

Dick Barbour racing star Sascha Maassen of Germany led the GT class qualifying in a Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Australian team Skea Racing struggled in qualifying, only recording the ninth and 13th fastest times.

<pre> QUALIFYING - PROTOTYPE DIVISION 1. - Jan Magnussen/David Brabham - Panoz - 1:15.219 2. - Rinaldo Capello/Alan McNish - Audi - 1:15.408 2. - Frank Biela/Emanuele Pirro - Audi - 1:15.823 4. - JJ Lehto/Jorg Muller - BMW - 1:16.037 5. - Johnny O'Connell/Hiroki Katoh - Panoz - 1:16.213

GTS DIVISION 1. - Ron Fellows/Andy Pilgrim - Chevrolet Corvette - 1:23.926

GT DIVISION 1. - Sascha Maassen/Bob Wollek - Porsche GT3-R - 1:27.411

Pasul Ryan

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Rinaldo Capello , Jan Magnussen , Allan McNish , Frank Biela , Karl Wendlinger , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Andy Pilgrim , Jorg Muller , Sascha Maassen , Dick Barbour , Hiroki Katoh , Olivier Beretta , Bob Wollek , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto