Laguna Seca: Audi race report

Infineon Team Joest makes it four wins in a row at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca SALINAS, Ca. (September 7, 2003) - The Infineon Team Joest Audi R8 of Frank Biela and Marco Werner scored a dominating win in Sunday's American Le Mans Series ...

Infineon Team Joest makes it four wins in a row at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

SALINAS, Ca. (September 7, 2003) - The Infineon Team Joest Audi R8 of Frank Biela and Marco Werner scored a dominating win in Sunday's American Le Mans Series Fry's Electronics Sports Car Championships event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Biela scored an overall win for the third consecutive year at the 2.238-mile circuit, while co-driver Werner won in his first appearance at the track. It was the fourth overall win for the duo in seven ALMS races this year and placed them in command of the race for the LMP 900 class driver's championship.

"One of our goals at the start of the season was to win the championship," said Biela, who drove for the former works Audi team the past three seasons. "The team won the championship the past three years, and this year maybe it's my turn and Marco's turn to win the driving championship."

Team ADT Champion Audi finished fourth overall, and third in the LMP 900 class. The #38 Audi R8 experienced mechanical problems when a circuit breaker that regulates the turbo boost popped out, causing the car to lose power.

Johnny Herbert reached down inside the cockpit to push the offending item back into place when a short time later Herbert heard a strange noise from the gearbox.

Herbert pitted, re-fuelled and took on a new set of tires before driving through the paddock and into the pit garage where the crew changed the complete rear section which includes the gearbox.

Teammate JJ Lehto re-entered the race in 24th position overall, fifth in the LMP 900 class. A determined drive by the "Flying Finn" made up ground to keep alive his and Champion Racing's championship title hopes.

The next race for the American Le Mans Series will be Grand Prix Americas on the Miami Downtown Street Circuit on September 27th.

DRIVER QUOTES:

INFINEON TEAM JOEST

Frank Biela:

"This has been a perfect weekend. Thanks to the advantage we now have, it looks quite good for us in the championship. We had a superb car here from the very beginning. The race went perfectly. It was a nice feeling to set the pace. I was able to pull away from the competitors, even before they ran into trouble. It was a shame, because it took the air out of the race. But of course it feels not too bad if the pressure from behind suddenly ceases."

Marco Werner:

"It was a totally new feeling for me to drive without any pressure. In such a case it is not easy to keep the concentration. That's why the race was not so easy at all. This weekend, Frank laid the foundation for the victory already during practice. He drove a superb qualifying and was strong also in the race. We have not only won because the others eliminated themselves. We simply were faster here. With a view on the championship, this victory was very important for us. We can now drive a little bit more relaxed, even if we are keen to win also the final two races."

TEAM ADT CHAMPION RACING

Johnny Herbert:

"I lost second place when a circuit breaker popped out - a problem connected to our electrical warm-up problem earlier in the day. I couldn't see the breaker box and had to reach down inside the cockpit and push it back in to place by feel but I'd dropped to third place by then. Shortly before the hour mark the gearbox started making a very odd noise. It wasn't affecting the performance but the team felt it wise to change the gearbox."

JJ Lehto:

"We could have done without this today obviously as it does us no favors in terms of the championship. We really needed to beat the Joest Audi today but while they had a faultless race, we lost over eight minutes changing the rear section. Now we must win in Miami and Road Atlanta and hope that Frank [Biela] and Marco [Werner] have problems to have a chance of championship honors."

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Series ALMS
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Frank Biela , Marco Werner , JJ Lehto