Biela and Pirro take Miami victory

Biela and Pirro take Miami victory

MIAMI (October 5, 2002) - Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro won the American Le Mans Series race through the streets of downtown Miami today, taking their second consecutive win in the series. The pair drove the No. 1 Audi R8 to a 14-second victory...

MIAMI (October 5, 2002) - Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro won the American Le Mans Series race through the streets of downtown Miami today, taking their second consecutive win in the series. The pair drove the No. 1 Audi R8 to a 14-second victory over the Cadillac Northstar LMP 02, driven by Max Angelelli and J.J. Lehto.

The winning car completed 122 laps, a distance of 169.2 miles in the 2 hour and 45 minute race.

Frank Biela.
Photo by Michael Kim.

Biela, who started from the pole position, led for the first hour before ducking into the pits under a full course caution. Taking a gamble, the team decided not to change tires. While the car was fueled and Pirro swapped places with Biela, Johnny Herbert took over the lead in the Champion Racing Audi R8.

Herbert held onto the point for 25 minutes when his team took advantage of the next full course yellow to service their Audi. Stephan Johansson replaced Herbert but drove away from the pits with a hose attached to the car drawing a stop and go penalty.

The Champion Racing Audi finished one lap down in fifth place.

Pirro, who regained the lead while the Champion Audi was in the pits, held the top spot until the finish. After victories at Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca, Miami marked the team's third win this season.

J.J. Lehto.
Photo by Michael Kim.

"A race like that is so unpredictable," said Pirro. "We didn't count on anything. We had two other street races this year, which were unpredictable. This was even more unpredictable and challenging."

Audi's seventh victory this season clinches their third consecutive manufacturer's title.

The second factory Audi, driven by Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen, was running second when Kristensen hit a GT class Porsche. Over thirty minutes later, Kristensen was assessed a stop and go penalty for contact.

"I am not happy," said Kristensen. "I was in second place with ten minutes to go and for some reason that happened an hour ago, they pulled me in."

Kristensen's penalty allowed the Cadillac to take second place. Kristensen secured third place 0.515 seconds behind the Cadillac.

The podium: race winners Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela.
Photo by Michael Kim.

Claudia Huertgen and Chad Block cruised to victory in the LMP675 class, finishing seven laps ahead of their nearest competitor. Huertgen and Block finished eighth overall while second in class, James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger, was 18th overall after completing 112 laps.

"I started out with some front tire problems, so I took it easy," said Huertgen, who will miss next week's Petit Le Mans due to commitments in the German Touring Car Series.

The Chevrolet Corvettes finished first and second in GTS with the No. 3 of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell one lap of ahead of their teammates Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins.

"I got into the car with a one lap lead," said O'Connell. "Most of the credit has to go to Ron. He had a good stint and neither of us made a mistake."

Finishing 13th overall and first in GT was the Alex Job Porsche of Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr. Maassen's sixth victory this season is the 14th of his career. He now ties Olivier Beretta for the most wins in ALMS history.

Alex Job Porsches finished one-two in the GT class, clinching the ALMS 2002 GT team championship. Jorg Bergmeister and Timo Bernhard completed 117 laps, one less than their teammates.

The American Le Mans Series moves to Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia next week for the Petit Le Mans, the final event of the 2002.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , J.J. Lehto , Frank Biela , James Weaver , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Chad Block , Kelly Collins , Lucas Luhr , Jörg Bergmeister , Timo Bernhard , Max Angelelli , Olivier Beretta , Alex Job , Emanuele Pirro , Michael Kim