WSC Championship from Laguna Seca

26 October 1997

Laguna Seca, CA--Butch Leitzinger is the 1997 Exxon PSR WSC Champion.  After 
11 races in the season it boiled down to a shoot-out among the Dyson Ford 
teammates.  Leitzinger led Elliott-Forbes Robinson by six points. For 
Leitzinger to win the championship, a finish of no lower than third place
was needed.  Leitzinger and his teammate John Paul, Jr. decided that an 
outright win would remove any doubt of the championship outcome.  That is
exactly what they did. The victory was achieved the old fashioned way . . .
they earned it.  

The Dyson/Ford victory also gave Ford the manufacturer's championship. Ford 
and Ferrari were separated by two points at the beginning of the day. Ford 
ended up winning the championship by six points. The Dyson teammates of 
Leitzinger/Elliott-Forbes Robinson & James Weaver finished 1-2-3 in the 
driver's championship.

The race started in the late afternoon dusk, due to the time change. The
race was reduced from a two hour length to 1 hour forty-five minutes. The 
race finished in darkness. The #30 Ferrari of Antonio Herrmann and Andrea 
Montermini finshed second. The hard luck story of the day belonged to Wayne
Taylor and Eric van der Poole in the Danka Toshiba R&S. A frustrating
week-end of not being able to qualify ended up being even more frustrating
when van der Poole first missed his pit block. The error required him
to go around for another lap. On the next lap van der Poole was required 
to come in for a stop and go penalty for exceeding the pit lane speed limit. 
Even with all of these hurdles, the team still finished in third. The drive 
from 20th to first place would have been the drive of the year. Unfortunately 
that was not too be. Van der Poole was understandably upset by the penalty 
that was handed out by the officials. 

Fourth place was taken by Eliseo Salazar and Fermin Velez in the #3 Ferrari. 
The team led early in the race and looked unbeatable until a late race incident
between the #3 and #16 Ford driven by James Weaver. Both cars arrived at turn 
11 at about the same time. PSR officials ruled that the #3 Ferrari was bumped 
by Weaver. The penalty for the bumping incident moved Weaver from third to 
seventh.

Final Results
Pos	Car #	Start	Driver				Marque	Laps
1	20	4	John Paul, Jr/Butch Leitzinger	Ford		76
2	30	1	Montermini/Hermann		Ferrari		76
3	 1	20	Wayne Taylor/van der Poele	Olds R&S	76
4	 3	3	Eliseo Salazar/Fermin Velez	Ferrari		76
5	27	2	Fredy Leinhard/Didier Theys	Ferrari		75
6	21	7	Andrea Chiesa/Alex Caffi	Chevy R&S	75
7	16	5	James Weaver/E-F Robinson	Ford		75
8	 2	9	Dan Clark/Craig T.Nelson	Ford R&S	74
9	60	12	Shane Donley/Kris Wilson	Ford Keiler	72
10	43	 6	Rob Morgan/Dean Hall		Ferrari		71
11	03	11	Bill Auberlen/Perry McCarthy	BMW URD	        70
12	63	14	Franck Freon/Jim Downing	Mazda Kudzu	70
13	62	16	Paul Debban/Rich Grupp	        Mazda Kudzu	70
14	17	13	Jon Field/Jacek Mucha		Oldsmobile	69
15	95	17	Don Bell/Thomas Volk		Chev Kudzu	69
16	28	15	Simon Gregg/Thane Sellers	Olds Spice	66
17	51	19	Spencer Trenery/Bruce Trenery   Chevy Cann	66
18	19	18	Mark Montgomery/Ed Davin	Buick Kudzu	61
19	40	22	Rod Bennett/Bob McGrew	        Pontiac Benne	60
20	88	10	Ross Bentley/Jeff Jones		Chev R&S	51
21	 4	 8	Neto Jochamovitz/Jim Pace	Olds R&S	32

Time of Race:1 hour 45 minutes 33.926 seconds
Winning Speed:96.672mph
Margin of Victory:21.725 seconds

Fastest Qualifier:#30 Andrea Montermini 1:17.311/104.212mph

Lap Leaders
#3	1-28
#16	29-29
#3	30-47
#20	48-49
#1	50-57
#20	58-76

David Treffer -- The Auto Channel  

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