JARAMA (Madrid), Spain - May 19 - Qualifying within a tenth of a second of each other, and only a half-second behind the pole-sitting BMW, the Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS race cars are poised for another close GT battle in Sunday ...
JARAMA (Madrid), Spain - May 19 - Qualifying within a tenth of a second of each other, and only a half-second behind the pole-sitting BMW, the Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS race cars are poised for another close GT battle in Sunday European Le Mans Series event at the Jarama circuit in Spain.
Emmanuel Collard from France and Sascha Maassen from Germany did their best to oust the pace-setting BMW M3 V8 GTRs in their Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsches, but in the end conceded the top two places in the GT qualifying for the second round of the European Le Mans Series at Jarama, Spain, today.
Collard set a time of 1:33.440 in the Porsche that he shares with American Randy Pobst.
"I lost time on my fastest lap when I made two mistakes," said the Collard, who finished second with Pobst and Christian Menzel earlier this year at the 12 Hours of Sebring. "Then I tried again and was faster, but I missed sixth gear on the run to the line, so lost a lot of time."
Pobst has not yet written off Porsche's chances of winning tomorrow's race, believing that it will come down to a battle of the tires.
"We are hoping that we only need to change once, and we may be able to do the race on just one fuel stop," said the American. "We know at Donington it was close [when we tried that strategy], but we managed it and we know that the BMWs cannot. I think they are harder on their tires, so we still have a chance."
Robin Liddell was fifth fastest in the PK Sport Porsche shared with Mike Youles, though he is under no illusions for tomorrow's race. "We were fifth in qualifying and, on paper, that is the best that we can hope for the race too," he said. "However, if something happens to any of the top four, we will be in with a chance." The pair finished on the podium at Donington, so they know they can be competitive with the German and American teams.
Although the BMW V-8s have been faster all season, Alex Job Racing has won all the events with flawless pit stops, smart drivers, better fuel economy, and luck. Team owner Alex Job hopes for all those things to win Sunday's Jarama event.
"We have had some problems with new pieces in the gearbox but we sorted them out Friday and ran strong today in qualifying," said Job after the Saturday session. "We probably cannot go for fewer fuel stops or hope for rain - we have to run as hard as we can and force the BMWs into on-track or pit mistakes," said Job.
Job explained that, unless there is a combination of rain and a couple of yellow flags, his Porsches will need two pit stops to finish the event.
The 2001 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT Driver's Championship points rules state that the Donington and Jarama events on the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) schedule are optional races that teams can use to counter a poor finish or a DNF in the North American series. The Alex job Racing McKenna Porsches finished one-two at Doning ton, and a top finish in Spain will serve them well when the ALMS series hits its stride later this summer.
BMW fired back Saturday at Porsche's request to the ACO that the rules be clarified regarding V8 eligibility by bringing a pre-production road version of the BMW 4-litre V8 ti Jarama and announcing that it will be available for sale in January. A price has not yet been named, nor have the numbers for production.
Although SkySports in Europe will be televising the race live, there will be no U.S. TV coverage. However, the race will be broadcast live at 7:00 AM Sunday on the Le Mans Radio Network, which can be accessed on the Web at www.americanlemans.com. That same American Le Mans Series web site will also have live timing and scoring during the event.
The official Porsche web site - www.porsche.com - will information from the Jarama event for all the Porsches entered, and will file stories before and after the race. Porsche website users should choose "North America" on the home page when prompted to choose a country, then choose "motorsports," then "motorsport news" to find the ALMS updates.
Other web sites that will follow the overall event include the American Le Mans site mentioned above, the ON TRACK ONLINE site, (www.ontrackonline.com), The Race Site (www.theRaceSite.com), the Speedvision site (www.speedvision.com), Motorsport.com (www.motorsport.com) and the CompuServe site (www.motorsportsforum.com).
<pre> ELMS Jarama GT Qualifying Times
1. Fredrick Ekblom/Dirk Mueller, BMW Motorsport, BMW M3GTR, 1m32.868s
2. JJ Lehto/Joerg Mueller, BMW Motorsport, BMW M3 GTR, 1m32.925s
3. Randy Pobst/Emmanuel Collard, Alex Job Racing, Porsche GT3RS, 1m33.440s
4. Lucas Luhr/Sascha Maassen, Alex Job Racing, Porsche GT3RS, 1m33.477s
5. Mike Youles/Robin Liddell, PK Sport, Porsche GT3RS, 1m36.201s
6. Terry Rymer/Stephen Watson, Harlow Motorsport Ltd, Porsche GT3RS, 1m37.585
7. Paco Orti/Jesus Diez de Villarroel, Paco Orti Racing, Porsche GT3RS, 1m37.950s
8. Piers Maserati/Mark Humphrey, PK Sport, Porsche GT3 RS, 1m37.980s
9. Marciel Stanco/Bernardo Sa'Nogueira, Porsche 911 GT2, 1m38.539s
10. Tony Burgess/Max Cohen-Olivar/Anthony Bagnell, Seikel Motorsport, Porsche GT3RS, 1m38.782s
11. Hugh Hayden/Stephen Earle, Sebah Automotive Ltd, Porsche GT3RS, 1m39.482s