Mowlem's musings

I feel at the moment like I'm living on a Virgin Atlantic 747 somewhere over the Atlantic, with LA airport fast becoming my home from home! This time I was traveling to one of my all time favourite tracks; Laguna Seca. The start of the trip was made even better when my engineer took me up flying in his bi-plane and then I got to thrash the race car around the streets of San Jose for a race promotion, and all in front of a dozen highway patrol men

Mowlem's musings

Having won our last race at the Road America 500, the Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning crew had high expectations for the Laguna race. I must admit that so did I, as I always seem to go well there, and in fact won my first ALMS race at the track. However, realistically I knew that if the 2 AJR Porsches of Maassen/Luhr and Bernhard/Bergmeister ran problem-free, it would be very tough to be faster than either of them.

Sure enough, in Friday's free practice we were third, although rather encouragingly, only two-tenths back. But third it remained, all through every session including qualifying, with my closest threat behind being the Risi Competizione Ferrari of Ralf Kelleners. The team decided to get my team mate Craig Stanton to take the start, and he did a great job to come through the first corner accident in the GT class lead.

He eventually got passed by both AJR Porsches and then the Risi Ferrari with Lazzaro at the wheel, and then got hit by an Audi R8, dropping him back to an eventual fourth place once the #24 AJR Porsche had hit problems. He clung on gamely, but once everything settled after the first round of pit stops, we were still in fourth, despite our crew doing an awesome time on their tyre change.

Fortunately, the car felt great and I was able to quickly reduce the nine-second deficit to former grand prix driver Alex Caffi in the PK Sport Porsche and take third place, but Kelleners in the Ferrari was still some 30 seconds up the road. I knew it was unlikely I could make up that kind of deficit, especially with Ralf at the wheel, but I set off after him as hard as I could - every lap an adventure!

I drove my heart out and by the end the gap was down to 12 seconds, but third place was the best we could manage. It just shows how far we've come this year that the team was a little disappointed, even though we were still on the podium.

On a positive note, this result moves us up to third in the drivers' championship pairings, only 9 points behind the second Alex Job Racing entry. Also our team is leading the privateer points standings, so if we can maintain that position through to the end of the season, I'm sure we'll all be very happy.

For the moment though, it's a short break at home, and then Miami here I come!

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