Laguna Seca Press Notes 13-16 , Saturday

Press Notes 13-16 , Saturday 25 October, 1997 1. Good morning and welcome to Day 2 of the VISA Sportscar Championships at Laguna Seca Raceway. Action gets underway this morning with the final practice and qualifying for the Exxon World ...

Press Notes 13-16 , Saturday

25 October, 1997

1. Good morning and welcome to Day 2 of the VISA Sportscar Championships at Laguna Seca Raceway. Action gets underway this morning with the final practice and qualifying for the Exxon World SportsCars. The final race of the Exxon Supreme GT Series Presented by Virgin Interactive begins at 12:35 pm and will be one hour and 45 minutes.

13. TELEVISION SCHEDULE CHANGE - Today's Exxon Supreme GT Series race will air tomorrow, Sunday, October 26, on FOX Sports Net at 5 pm in all markets. The race was originally scheduled to air live today on the FOX Sports Net.

14. ENTRY LIST CHANGES Exxon World SportsCar Championship CAR CHANGE 17 NEW ENTRY, Oldsmobile Courage, Jacek Mucha, Montreal/Quebec, Jon Field/Dublin, Ohio


The session starts at 8:45 am with a 20-minute practice session, then the black flag will stop the session and the cars will then come in, put on qualifying tires and go back out to qualify for Sunday's two-hour season finale.

The #1 Danka/Toshiba Copiers & Fax Oldsmobile R&S MK III will not participate in qualifying today as the team has a new Aurora engine being flown in. The team will install the new engine and the car will start from the back of the grid.

The 25-minute qualifying session begins with Fermin Velez, winner of the 1994 Exxon World SportsCar Championship race at Laguna Seca, out first in the #3 Ferrari ... Andrea Montermini in the #30 Ferrari 333 SP set the fastest lap of the weekend yesterday afternoon, with a quick time of 1:17.988=103.30 mph ... Early in this qualifying session, the fastest time has been set by Velez: 1:19.855 mph ... Dean Hall in the #43 Ferrari moves to the top of the time sheets with a 1:19.316 just before the session is temporarily stopped to remove the #60 Ford Keiler that has stopped on the front straight. The Green Flag restarts the session with approximately 11 minutes remaining ... Velez resets fast lap with a 1:18.407 ... Montermini in the #30 Ferrari sets fast lap with a 1:17.838, followed by Didier Theys in the #27 Ferrari with a fast lap of 1:17.980 ... Montermini goes faster on his sixth lap, with a time of 1:17.311 ... CHECKERED FLAG ends the session with Montermini on the pole.

The pole is Montermini's fifth of the season and his third consecutive. In earning the pole position, Montermini also wins the Team MSI Make-A-Wish Pole Award. The Award is $3,000 to the driver setting the pole position and $7,000 to the local Make-A-Wish chapter. Also, Montermini wins the season Make-A-Wish Pole Award -- $10,000 and a crystal trophy - for winning the most pole positions in the 1997 season. ANDREA MONTERMINI, #30 MOMO FERRARI, FASTEST QUALIFIER - "The strategy for winning the pole today was to find no traffic and go flat out. This strategy worked last week at Sebring (Florida) so we just did it again. For the race tomorrow, the tires are going to be the most important thing, especially after the FIA GT cars have been out. You won't be able to tell what the track surface will be like so it's anybody's race."


The #96 GTS-1 Ford Panoz takes the lead going into Turn #1 as GREEN FLAG drops at 12:39 pm to start the one hour, 45-minute season finale. The #32 and #13 FIA Lotus entries, quickly move up through the field with the #32 car passing the #66 GTS-1 Ford Panoz of Doc Bundy in Turn 3 and quickly closing in on the first-place Panoz. Bundy manages to hold onto second place from the #13 Lotus. The #05 car spins off the circuit between turns 3 & 4, limps back to pits where the team replaces brake linkage parts and the car returns to the circuit.

At the 10-minute mark, the #50 GTS-1 Chevrolet Camaro, with Dale White driving, pulls off the circuit at the end of pit lane with a blown engine. The #77 GTS-3 BMW M3 makes contact with another car at Turn #5, pulls off at Turn #6, driver Matthew Cohen gets out of the car, causing a FULL COURSE CAUTION at 12:53 pm while workers clear oil off the track. The crew reports the car has suffered a broken left axle.

The GREEN FLAG drops again at 1:03 pm to restart the race with the #66 GTS-1 Ford Panoz and the #32 GTS-1 Lotus with Giroix at the wheel and the #66 GTS-1 Ford Panoz with Doc Bundy at wheel trading places over the next two laps. The #16 GTS-1 Ford Thunderbird off the track into the gravel pit at the outside of Turn #4, bringing out a FULL COURSE YELLOW at 1:06 pm.

Pit stops start under the yellow with the #05 GTS-3 Porsche 911 the first in for fuel, tires, driver change from Ralston to Trejos. The #76 GTS-3 Porsche 911 pits, for fuel, tires, driver change, Matthews out, Murry in...#10 GTS-3 BMW M3 pits, fuel, tires, driver change, Said out, Auberlen in...#99 GTS-3 Porsche 911 Turbo pits, fuel, tires, driver change, Schumacher out, Cobb in...#56 GTS-2 Porsche 911 Turbo pits, fuel, tires, driver change, Martin Snow out, Collins in...#61 GTS-2 pits, fuel, tires, driver change, Konrad out, Ham in...#26 GTS-Porsche 911 pits, fuel only...#25 GTS-3 Porsche 911 pits, fuel only...#06 Porsche 911 pits, fuel, tires, driver change, Williamson out, Goolsby in.

GREEN FLAG drops again at 1:17 pm and the #32 GTS-1 Lotus takes the lead from the 396 GTS-1 Ford Panoz almost immediately...#76 GTS-# Porsche 911 charging through the field, passing more than a dozen cars in the first lap after the restart. At 1:22 pm, #34 Porsche 911 goes behind the wall with gearbox problems...#95 GTS-2 Ford Mustang retires with brake problems at 1:25 pm...#76 GTS-Porsche pits at 1:27 pm with bent wheel rim, no fuel, Murry still in the car.

#96 GTS-1 Ford Panoz retakes the lead the from the #32 Lotus at 1:26 pm on lap 27 when the Lotus gets caught in traffic under the bridge between turns 4 & 5...the #77 GTS-3 BMW M3 repairs the broken axle, returns to the race with Halsmer at the wheel...the #66 GTS-1 Ford Panoz pits at 1:31 pm, fuel, tires, driver change, Bundy out, Wallace in...#76 GTS-3 Porsche 911 smoking heavily (Murry at the wheel), pits, crew goes to work on the right rear area of the car where the smoking originated...#55 GTA Chevrolet Monte Carlo retires from the race on lap #28 as their portion of the race is complete.

The #76 GTS-3 Porsche 911 (Murry) returns to the track...The #96 GTS-1 Ford Panoz holds a five-second lead over the #32 GTS-1 Lotus. Neither car has made a pit stop as the race approaches the one-hour mark...Murry brings the #76 GTS-3 pits again...#27 GTS-1 Ford Mustang Cobra pits, fuel, tires, driver change, Priestley out, Maxwell in...#13 GTS-1 Lotus pits at 1:44 pm, fuel, tires, driver change, Lammers in, Hezemans out. The car catches fire in the pits after the refuelling is completed , Lammers out of the car, bodywork taken off...#53 GTS-2 Porsche 911 Turbo pits, fuel, tires, driver change, Melanie Snow out, St. James in...#77 pulls off the circuit again, retiring from the race.

The race-leading #96 GTS-1 Ford Panoz pits, fuel, tires, driver change, Bernard out, Brabham in. The pit is very long as the car takes on a full load of fuel. The #32 GTS-1 Lotus takes over the lead at 1:46 pm on lap #39...the #32 GTS-1 Lotus pits on the next lap, giving up his one-lap race lead to the #66 GTS-1 Ford Panoz of Andy Wallace...#32 takes on fuel, tires, driver change...Giroix out, Deletraz in...The pit stop is also very long as the car takes on full load of fuel.

The Ford Panoz GTS-1 cars are one-two with #66 (Wallace) in the lead at the 1:15 mark...the #61 GTS-2 Porsche 911 Turbo is not only the first car in class, but also third overall, as only the two Panoz are on the lead lap at the 1:20 mark...#5 GTS-3 BMW M3 pits, fuel, tires, driver change, Said in, Simo out...#72 GTS-3 pits with 25 minutes left, fuel, tires, Gray out, Williamson in...#22 GTS-3 Porsche 911 pits, fuel only, no driver change.

The #61 GTS-2 Porsche 911 turbo loses third place overall to the #32 GTS-1 Lotus on lap 53 as the #66 and #96 GTS-1 Ford Panoz are separated by just 2.1 seconds on lap #54.

The #66 GTS-1 Ford Panoz gets loose coming out of Turn #5, spins off the track, through the gravel pit, hits the tire wall on the driver's side at Turn #6, Wallace gets out of the car. The #96 GTS-1 Ford Panoz (Brabham) takes over the lead on lap #56 at 2:09 pm and has a one-lap lead over the field. Wallace reports to crew that "something on the car broke" causing him to spin...#05 GTS-3 Porsche 911 and the #53 GTS-2 Porsche 911 Turbo touch in Turn #3, spinning the #05 car off the circuit.

The #61 GTS-2 Porsche 911 Turbo pits with about eight minutes left for splash of fuel...#97 GTS-2 Porsche 911 Turbo goes off the end of Turn #10, takes out some cones, returns to circuit with no damage.

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Series PSR
Drivers Andy Wallace , Didier Theys , Jacek Mucha , Andrea Montermini , Martin Snow , Fermin Velez , Doc Bundy , Melanie Snow
Teams Williams