McNish, Beretta, Muller crowned champions

ADELAIDE, Australia (January 1, 2001) -- The American Le Mans Series celebrated the end of its second year by crowning Allan McNish, Olivier Beretta and Dirk Muller as driving champions for the 2000 season at an awards ceremony Monday ...

ADELAIDE, Australia (January 1, 2001) -- The American Le Mans Series celebrated the end of its second year by crowning Allan McNish, Olivier Beretta and Dirk Muller as driving champions for the 2000 season at an awards ceremony Monday night.

The driving championship awards were the highlight of a lavish ceremony held at the Adelaide Oval cricket facility one day after the season-ending race on the Adelaide street circuit.

McNish, dressed in formal Scottish attire complete with kilt, accepted the Prototype driving title from ALMS founder Don Panoz. The Audi R8 driver was a six-time race winner in the 2000 season with co-driver Rinaldo Capello.

Capello, from Italy, finished second in the Prototype class standings, followed by Audi driver Emanuele Pirro.

Audi was honored as the Prototype Manufacturer's Champion, with Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport, accepting the award. Team Joest, which fielded the winning Audis, received the Team Championship award, represented by Reinhold Joest. Lead mechanic Uwe Zenker received the Mechanic of the Year trophy.

In the GTS category, Beretta was honored with his second consecutive driving title. The French driver, who resides in Monaco, co-drove with Karl Wendlinger in the powerful Dodge Viper GTS-R for Team ORECA. The duo won all but three of the 12 ALMS events in 2000.

Wendlinger, from Austria, finished second in the standings, followed by American Tommy Archer.

DaimlerChrysler won the Manufacturer's Award, with Team ORECA winning the Team Championship. ORECA also received a $425,000 bonus for winning Sebring, Le Mans and Adelaide in the "3 out of 4" bonus. All awards were accepted by Pierre Dieudonne, Sporting Director for DaimlerChrysler. ORECA's Sebestian Poupard was the top mechanic.

Muller, a German residing in Monaco, emerged as driving champion from a very tight GT class battle. His win with teammate Lucas Luhr in the Adelaide finale sealed the title.

Luhr finished second, while teammates Bob Wollek and Sascha Maassen tied for third. All drove for Dick Barbour Racing, which received the Team Championship. Porsche was the Manufacturer's Champion, with Alvin Springer, President of Porsche Motorsports North America, accepting. Barbour's Tim Mundy was the Mechanic of the Year.

Capello, Beretta and GT driver Randy Pobst were announced as winners of the "Personality of the Year" awards in each class. The awards were presented by "Le Mans and Sportscar Racing Magazine."

Panoz presented the "From The Fans" award to Audi's Dr. Ullrich. The award was voted on by ALMS fans through the ALMS Radio Web for an individual making significant contributions to the series during the previous year.

NBC Sports motorsports announcer Allen Bestwick served as Master of Ceremonies for the ceremony, which was attended by 600.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Rinaldo Capello , Dirk Müller , Allan McNish , Karl Wendlinger , Tommy Archer , Randy Pobst , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Dick Barbour , Don Panoz , Olivier Beretta , Bob Wollek , Reinhold Joest , Pierre Dieudonné , Emanuele Pirro