Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, Spetember 4, 2005
The Audi R8's of Team ADT Champion Racing finished 2nd and 3rd today
at Mosport International Raceway in round 8 of the American Le Mans
Series. JJ Lehto and his No. 1 Audi R8 crossed the finish line 3.6
seconds behind the leader and the sister car driven by Frank Biela
followed closely clinching 3rd place for the team.
Before the race even started, a couple of changes took place. For starters
the normal 2:45 minute race was shortened to 2:30 minutes due to fuel
shortages across the nation. "During a week when fuel shortages have
been in the news, the American Le Mans Series has not been immune,"
said ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton. "Like the rest of the United
States and Canada, we are having to share the sacrifice while we all face
these fuel shortages. We view this as an isolated situation and do not at
this time expect situations like this to
occur in our final two races."
The second change occurred with the No. 1 Audi R8. The engine was
misfiring intermittently and after this morning's warm up session, the
team decided to switch out the engine and put a fresh engine in.
Performed in a rapid 1:06 minutes, the engines were swapped and the
R8 was ready to roll.
Werner instantly proved just how well the engine was performing by
immediately passing the No. 20 Dyson car on the first lap putting him into
2nd position. Pirro, who started in 4th position in the Audi R8 No. 2 car
followed suit and also passed the No. 20 Dyson just a few moments later
pushing him into third position.
On lap 45, Werner and the lead Dyson car (No. 16) split around the sides
of a Panoz GT2 car and Werner who found himself on line going into the
corner was able to take the lead. Dyson dropped to 2nd and Pirro stayed
in 3rd position.
After an hour on the track, both Audis came in for a full pit stop, which
included a driver change. JJ Lehto replaced Werner in the No. 1 Audi and
Frank Biela replaced Pirro in the No. 2 Audi. Both Audis retained their 1st
and 3rd positions respectively.
On the second and final pit stop, the R8 No. 2 did a full service (fuel, 4
tires) and the R8 No.1 opted for fuel and only new tires on the front. The
No. 16 Dyson car stayed out and gained back their original lead at this
Lehto on his hard charge went off the circuit on lap 88 which resulted in a
long slide in the grass. Lehto's Audi collected a lot of grass in the brake
duct but the car remained stable.
What looked like a potential win for Champion Racing turned around
when the No. 16 Dyson, which took the lead during Champion Racing's
final pit stops, came in for their final pit stop. Opting for fuel only (no tires),
the No. 16 Dyson car came out of the pits again ahead of the two Audis.
Their short pit stop combined with a few seconds lost when Lehto hit the
turf resulted in Dyson Racing keeping their lead to the checkered flag.
Petit Le Mans, Round 9 of the 2005 American Le Mans Series, is
scheduled for 11 a.m. Oct. 1 from Road Atlanta. Live coverage will be
available on SPEED Channel. American Le Mans Radio, and IMSA Live
Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.
TEAM ADT CHAMPION RACING AUDI R8 #1
JJ Lehto (Fin)
"This really didn't help us much in terms of the Championship. I really
don't understand why we lost it today. We were ahead and then we were
behind. I just don't understand and therefore I am not happy."
Marco Werner (D)
"Most important was the fact that the car was running well after this
morning and Friday's practice. Thanks to the team, they did a great job in
changing the engine. It was a nice battle with James Weaver and when I
saw my chance in traffic, I decided to take it. We battled but since I was on
the inside, I won. This is a step from 3rd position from last week so
hopefully we make another step to 1st position at Petit Le Mans."
TEAM ADT CHAMPION RACING AUDI R8 #2
Frank Biela (D)
"This is more or less what we wanted to achieve this weekend. We all
agreed a podium here was all we needed. Personally, I am not happy
with the result, as the car was good. I had a lot of pick-up problems
(marbles) and traffic was an issue and I decided to play it safe rather then
risk the Championship."
Emanuele Pirro (I)
"After the start I wasn't so happy but fortunately after a few laps I was able
to pass the No. 20 Dyson. I could pull away a little bit then but the pick-up
on the tires slowed me down some. So without a yellow, we were too far
behind to capture the lead. From out standpoint we are happy as we
gained some more Championship points."