Sascha Maassen - Utah victory Sascha Maassen extended his American Le Mans Series winning record, finishing first in the LMP2 class and second overall in the inaugural series race at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, on July 15. The win...
Sascha Maassen - Utah victory
Sascha Maassen extended his American Le Mans Series winning record, finishing first in the LMP2 class and second overall in the inaugural series race at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, on July 15. The win was the Raeren, Belgium, driver's 24th series victory. He is one of only two who have won every season since the series started in 1999. (Jan Magnussen of Denmark is the other.)
Maassen's co-driver, Lucas Luhr of Monaco, put the No. 6 Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder on the class pole position with a time of two minutes 23.387 seconds on the 4.486-mile road course. Maassen drove the first race stint, starting first in class, fourth overall. He moved to third overall in the first 20 minutes of the two-hour 45-minute race, but soon saw his lap times drop as he was slowed by the car ahead.
Porsche engineer Roland Kussmaul made a smart strategy call for Maassen to pit for fuel and tires after 33 minutes. Maassen returned to the track second in class, sixth overall, but with a clear track ahead. He posted the fastest lap of the race -- a record 2:23.655, quickly regained the class lead and passed for the overall lead at 1h15.
Luhr took over at 1h37, returning to the track second in class, fourth overall. He moved to the class lead, second overall, just past the two-hour mark, and closed to finish 0.318 seconds behind the winning LMP1-class Audi R10.
"We had a great race. We had pole position in our class and even quickest lap overall," Maassen said. "The strategy call was very, very good so I was able then to drive on my own without any dirty air in front of me, so I could go significantly quicker. Overall, it was looking not so bad. We were in a position to threaten the R10, which is also something quite interesting to achieve. I enjoyed overtaking the Audi, that was really good!"
Maassen was impressed with Miller Motorsports Park, the longest permanent road-racing circuit in North America. He noted the July heat, high altitude and course design made his long stint a challenge.
"It's a beautiful facility. It's not only the biggest track, but it has a standard of quality that is unique so far. This is the best track we race on all year. The configuration is great, but also the design, the layout of the corners. It's very quick," he said. "I was really happy to get out of the car! You have the temperature, then altitude, and then these quick corners. You have a lot of G-forces on you, so it's very tiring."
Maassen hopes to carry the momentum of his win to Portland, Ore., for the next ALMS race on July 22.