Panoz Motor Sports made a barnstorming start to the Audi Presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta today, grabbing the race lead at one stage before later being delayed with a puncture. Jan Magnussen made a strong charge through traffic after the...
Panoz Motor Sports made a barnstorming start to the Audi Presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta today, grabbing the race lead at one stage before later being delayed with a puncture.
Jan Magnussen made a strong charge through traffic after the 11.30am race start before handing over to David Brabham under a safety car after one hour.
Brabham continued this strong pace to take over the race lead when the top Audis pitted at 1.09pm.
The lead Panoz was on a different pit sequence to the Audis and their progress was later delayed when Brabham was struck by Johnny Herbert at turn seven, forcing a pit stop for new Michelin rubber.
"Jan did a brilliant job at the start of the race and we were pushing as hard as we could," Brabham said.
"Johnny got me in the right rear entering turn 7 and caused a puncture. That put us a little behind were we would want to be, but there is still a long way to go.
"The car remains very strong but we have to be careful passing cars off-line because you get a lot of pick up on your tires."
Bryan Herta caught a lucky break in the opening part of the race when a safety car period was ordered by race control, just before he was about to drop a lap to the lead Audis.
"That first yellow certainly saved our butt early but we still need to put our heads down and hopefully catch a few more breaks as the race continues," Herta said.
"We have to just keep pushing as hard as we can. Once you get off-line the pick-up from all the rubber can really make life difficult. It takes a couple of laps get the tires clean again."
The Champion privateer Audi of Herbert and Stefan Johansson held the race lead after three hours.