Pole Position Debut at Sebring for Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz

SEBRING, FL (March 16th, 2006) – Panoz veteran David Brabham has given the new Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz squad the perfect start to its 2006 American Le Mans Series assault by clinching the GT2 class pole position at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Brabham stopped the clock at 2 minutes, 3.563 seconds to topple the Risi Ferrari 430 of Ralf Kelleners and steal pole position aboard the #50 Panoz Esperante GTLM.

Team-mate Gunnar Jeannette was equally impressive, recording the third fastest GT2 time aboard the #51 car – just over 1/10th of a second behind Brabham.

The qualifying performance capped a perfect preparation for the Multimatic squad which earlier in the week set the fastest overall time of the week in the testing and offcial practice sessions.

However, the result came after a few tense moments in qualifying when the session was red flagged following a major crash by one of the Spyker C8 Spyder entries. Neither Panoz had set a representative time prior to the crash, and a long track clean-up put both cars in danger of starting towards the rear of the grid.

Race officials elected to extend the session by 10 minutes, enabling both Brabham and Jeannette to qualify strongly – despite the track surface now being extremely slippery at the site of the Spyker crash.

Brabham will team with Multimatic veteran Scott Maxwell and two-time Champ Car World Series champ Sebastien Bourdais in Saturday’s race. Jeannette is joined by fellow American young-gun Tom Milner and Bourdais’s Newman-Haas Racing team-mate – former Indy 500 pole winner, Bruno Junqueira.

“With the speed and reliability we have show this week, everybody keeps asking me what is the silver bullet for us,” Multimatic Vice President and Motorsports Technical Director, Larry Holt said. 

“There is no magic answer. We have used a set-up straight off our four-post rig and have just got a great team of guys to screw the cars together really well.

“But it has been a great job from the drivers – they are all first class performers and have driven brilliantly all week. 

“It was a great lap from Brabs, especially considering the Ferrari set its time before the Spyker crash when track was still in good shape.”

Saturday’s 54th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will greet the green flag at 10.30am (US Eastern standard time). The race will be broadcast live on SPEED Channell in the US and MotorsTV throughout Europe.


David Brabham

“After the red flag, the track was really slippery and on my first flying lap the speed wasn’t quite there. “Fortunately I was able to pull out a time on the second lap which was great. This is really a fantastic effort by the entire team because the competition in GT2 is very fierce. We still have a bit of work to do for the race and personally I am still on a steep learning curve – working out what the car likes and where I can be aggressive with it. But so far, it has been a fantastic start. Gunnar did a great job to be third and Sebastien and Bruno have really settled into the cars brilliantly as well.”

Gunnar Jeannette

“I wish I could have been a little higher but I pretty pleased to be within a 10th of a second off Brab’s time. We got hosed a little with the red flag – I was not far behind the Spyker when it crashed and I had to run through a huge amount of debris on the road. I didn’t end up setting my time until my fifth lap after the red flag which was pretty good. But overall I am very happy with the car – the guys have done a brilliant job. Tonight we will get our night laps in and make sure the car is ready for the race. I can’t wait for Saturday – Tom and Bruno have done a great job and I think we are in really good shape.”