Maassen/Luhr gain second straight ALMS victory with Sears Point win. SONOMA, Calif. - May 19, 2002 - The ...
Maassen/Luhr gain second straight ALMS victory with Sears Point win.
SONOMA, Calif. - May 19, 2002 - The #23 Alex Job Racing McKenna Xybernaut Porsche 911 GT3 RS racer of Germans Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr combined a flawless drive with fortunate positioning to gain a one-lap GT class victory in the Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Foster's Lager at Sears Point Raceway.
Finishing sixth overall and scoring their second win in two starts for the season, Maassen and Luhr picked up a lap on the rest of the GT field during a mid-race yellow flag when the pace car came out between first and second place, and the rest of the cars lost the lap. For Maassen, who lost a lap to the BMWs last year at Mid-Ohio in the same fashion, it was a second straight race the team had gained a lap by being in the right place at the right time.
"Although I think we could have won anyway, both our #22 team car as well as the Racers Group Porsche were also fast, and it would have been a three-way battle to the end," said Maassun, who leads Luhr by one point due to his pole position at Sebring in March.
The two-hour, 45-minute event started in a pouring rain, and the track was wet for the first hour. Lucas Luhr got by the #66 Racers Group Porsche 911GT3 RS only two green laps into the event - the first five laps were run under yellow to help dry off the track - and five other Porsches were also in the hunt early.
In the early going, Luhr also stayed ahead the GTS Corvettes and the Ferrari as the Porsche handled especially well in the wet conditions.
The #22 Jörg Bergmeister/Timo Bernhard Alex Job Porsche and the #66 Racers Group Porsche of Kevin Buckler/Marino Franchitti had a race-long battle for second place, with Buckler taking over the position at the final pit stop, and Bergmesiter finishing third by less than two seconds.The #99 Schumacher Porsche of David Murry/Larry Schumacher was third in the early running, but an accident broke the right upright and lower control arm, causing a lengthy pit stop. The #31 Petersen Motorsports Porsche, making their season debut, was also in contention, with Randy Pobst doing the early driving, but fading tires and a broken shift linkage put Randy and co-driver Johnny Mowlen back in the pack. And the J3 Racing Porsche of Justin Jackson and Mike Fitzgerald had a flat tire which dropped them down for a fourth place finish.
The Orbit Racing Porsches were fifth and sixth in GT, with the #43 Leo Hindery/Peter Baron car fifth and the #42 Tony Kester/Gary Schultheis Porsche sixth. Seventh was the #89 Canadian Porschehaus 911 GT3 RS entry of Robert Julien/Adam Merzon, while the #52 Seikel Motorsports Porsche of Tony Burgess/Hugh Plumb/Philip Collin was eight, after a flat tire set back their progress. The #88 Porschehaus team car did not start the race as car owner Peter Overing had back spasms during morning warm-up.
The American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Foster's Lager was broadcast live on the Speed Channel and will be broadcast in Europe on a tape-delayed basis on Sunday, May 26, at 20:00 Central European Time on the Eurosport television network.
That American Le Mans Series/IMSA web site - www.imsaracing.net - has posted complete race results and pit notes.
The official Porsche web site - www.porsche.com - also has results on the Grand Prix of Sonoma for all the Porsches entered as well as race photos. Porsche web site uses should click on "North America" from the home page when prompted to select a country, choose "motorsports," then "news" to find the ALMS updates.