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Porsche, BMW Locked in Close American Le Mans Series GT Points Battle With Season at Half-Way Mark; Pobst Hopes For Return Canadian Success -With four events remaining, Porsche drivers and teams form strategy to hold off the charging BMW V8 ...

Porsche, BMW Locked in Close American Le Mans Series GT Points Battle With Season at Half-Way Mark; Pobst Hopes For Return Canadian Success

-With four events remaining, Porsche drivers and teams form strategy to hold off the charging BMW V8 entries and retain the championship points lead-

BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada. - Aug. 15, 2001 - The top Porsche teams in the American Le Mans Series are working equally hard to maximize their ALMS championship points as well as their lap times for the coveted GT championship as the series moves to Mosport Park north of Toronto for a race on Sunday, August 19.

"With only four events remaining, McKenna Porsche/Alex Job Racing drivers Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr have continued to maintain their one-two position in the points despite increased pressure from the four BMW entries," said Alwin Springer, president of Porsche Motorsport North America.

"If their #23 Porsche 911 GT3 RS continues to finish on the podium, and all the BMWs don't run to their potential at any given event, Porsche still has a shot at the driver's championship," Springer added.

Although the new V8-powered BMWs have won the last three events, Luhr and Maassen built up an early points lead with victories at Texas and Sebring, with Sebring yielding extra points because of its 12-hour length. The BMW drivers closest to the top of the points - Boris Said III and Hans Stuck - did not enter the two European races this spring which can be used to substitute lower finishes in the ALMS series. Luhr/Maassen won one of those events - the race at Donington Park in England - and could gain ten points at the end of the season by substituting those winning 25 points for the 15 points they picked up for a fifth place finish at Sears Point.

Also, with the cancellation of the planned season-ending race at Charlotte, there are now less races for the BMW "chasers" to catch the Porsche front-runners.

The other Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS entry, driven by Randy Pobst and Christian Menzel, is a co-favorite because of Pobst's win at Mosport a year ago.

"Not unlike 2000, the #22 Alex Job Racing Porsche has not had a great first half of the year," said Pobst, who won Mosport and Texas last year in August after a bad start, "but I am more familiar with this track than almost any other driver in our class, and a win here would put Christian and I back in the points chase."

The Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RS has been a bright spot for Porsche at the most recent events at Sears Point and Portland, finishing sixth in both events and running a perfect race for team owner Mike Petersen. Englishman Johnny Mowlem will again be joined on the driving roster by 20 year-old German GT driver Timo Bernhard. Bernhard, who spent the past two years driving in the Porsche Carrera Cup in Germany, drove with Randy Pobst and Christian Menzel in the second-place Alex Job Racing entry at Sebring. Most recently, he won the Porsche SuperCup race at the Nurburgring in July in Germany. The #30 Petersen Motorsports Porsche with Luhr/Fitzgerald/Pobst/Menzel at the helm, won the GT class at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona earlier this year, finishing second overall.

Other Porsche 911 GT3 RS entries include the 2001 Le Mans-winning team - Canadian-based Seikel Motorsports - with Tony Burgess from Toronto being the lead driver (the Italian drivers Rosa/Babini/Drudi won Le Mans in the car); a Dick Barbour Racing entry with Randy Wars from Mexico City; and the Kyser Racing entry of Kye Wankum from Toronto and Jeff Pabst from Aurora, Colo.

Here are the top 10 ALMS GT points drivers after four events: Driver/Car Points

Sascha Maassen 92
Porsche 911 GTA3 RS

Lucas Luhr 91
Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Boris Said III 88

Hans Stuck 87

Jorg Muller 84

J.J. Lehto 83

Randy Pobst 71
Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Christian Menzel 71
Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Timo Bernhard 54
Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Fredrik Ekblom 48

Practice starts on Friday, August 17, with final qualifying for the Gran Turismo 3 Grand Prix at Mosport taking place on Saturday at 4:10 PM EDT for Sunday's event.

The Gran Turismo 3 Grand Prix at Mosport will be telecast live on the NBC television network starting at 2:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time on Sunday, August 19 (check local listings for the exact time and channel in your area). The race, along with qualifying sessions starting August 18, will be broadcast live on the American 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 qualifying and the race event.

The official Porsche Web site - www.porsche.com - will have qualifying information on the Gran Turismo 3 Grand Prix at Mosport for all the Porsches entered, and will file stories and photos during and after the race. Porsche Web site 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), TotalMotorsport (www.totalmotorsport.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).

-Porsche Motorsports

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers J.J. Lehto , Boris Said , Jorg Muller , Randy Pobst , Tony Burgess , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Dick Barbour , Timo Bernhard , Johnny Mowlem , Jeff Pabst , Alex Job , Christian Menzel
Teams Alex Job Racing