Result: 2nd, 391-laps, 9hr 17mins 8.828secs. Best lap: 1:13.120 (106.953mph) Stefan Johansson and Patrick LemariÃ© claimed a magnificent second place in the eighth and final round of the American Le Mans Series at Road Atlanta today. Their...
Result: 2nd, 391-laps, 9hr 17mins 8.828secs. Best lap: 1:13.120 (106.953mph)
Stefan Johansson and Patrick Lemarié claimed a magnificent second place in the eighth and final round of the American Le Mans Series at Road Atlanta today. Their Gulf/Brocade sponsored 2000-specification "customer" Audi R8 finished three laps behind the winning "factory" Audi of Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro.
The Johansson Motorsports Audi began the 1,000-mile marathon from the second row of the 41-car grid but Johansson (45) led the race after an hour despite having to serve a stop-go penalty for overtaking the second-place car under a yellow caution period which dropped the Swede to 31st place.
Johansson drove the opening 163-minutes of the race before handing over to Frenchman Lemarié (33) who proceeded to dice for the lead with the Biela/Pirro Audi over the next two hours even with a 20-seconds penalty at a scheduled pit-stop following a pit violation when a mechanic cleaned the brake duct whilst the car was being re-fuelled.
After six hours, the Biela/Pirro Audi led the 2000-spec Audis of Herbert/Wallace and Johansson/Lemarié - the top-three covered by one minute. But just over an hour later, the Gulf Audi lost valuable time in the pits when the rear bodywork was changed after the rear lights failed as darkness approached.
With 50 minutes to run, the second-placed Herbert/Wallace Audi lost time in the pits with a brake problem promoting the British-based Audi up to second place, now three laps behind the leading Pirro/Biela Audi but three laps ahead of the Champion Audi of Wallace/Herbert.
Stefan Johansson (Sw): "I suffered a stop-go penalty early on when I was adjudged to have overtaken Pirro before the green flag after a caution period but I thought he was slowing. It was a really fun race but frantic from start to finish involving pure racing. The Audi ran strongly throughout - a great car."
Patrick Lemarié (F): "After three hours I served a 20-secs penalty after a mechanic had cleaned the brake duct while the car was being re-fuelled in my previous stop. The car was superb, I was really enjoying myself, but I lost a lot of time when we needed to change the rear body section due to a rear light problem. That looked to have cost us any chance of finishing second but then Herbert hit trouble."
Mike Earle, Team Director: "We were very lucky to inherit second place at the end but we'll take it! We suffered bad luck with our penalties but on the other side of the coin we were fortunate with a couple of pit stops when we managed to re-fuel under yellow caution periods"
Johansson Motorsports 2001 Formguide: Sebring, USA (ALMS, Rd2): Q4/R4 (SJ+Guy Smith); Donington, GB (ELMS, Rd1): Q3/R3 (SJ+GS); Jarama, SP (ELMS, Rd2): Q3/R4 (SJ+GS); Le Mans 24 Hour: Q5/R Retired (SJ+Patrick Lemarié/Tom Coronel); Estoril, Por (ELMS, Rd3): Q1/R Not classified+FL (SJ+PL+TC); Most, CZ (ELMS, Rd4): Q1/R1+FL (SJ+PL); Laguna Seca, USA (ALMS, Rd7): Q2/R3 (SJ+PL); Atlanta, USA (ALMS, Rd8): Q4/R2 (SJ+PL). KEY: Q=Qualifying/Start position; R=Race position; FL=Fastest Race Lap.
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