Miami: Audi Teams qualifying report

Jj Lehto takes the pole during the last lap of qualifying at the Miami Grand Prix MIAMI, Fl. (September 26, 2003) - JJ Lehto earned his first pole and Team ADT Champion Racing's first pole of the season when Lehto put in a flying lap on the...

Jj Lehto takes the pole during the last lap of qualifying at the Miami Grand Prix

MIAMI, Fl. (September 26, 2003) - JJ Lehto earned his first pole and Team ADT Champion Racing's first pole of the season when Lehto put in a flying lap on the very last lap during today's American Le Mans Series qualifying session. Lehto's time was a mere 0.039 seconds faster than that of rival Marco Werner's time in the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8. The two Audi R8's will start side by side in tomorrow's Miami's Grand Prix Americas presented by Sportsbook.com.

During qualifying, Marco Werner took the lead from the very beginning. However, Werner had to abandon his final lap when a spectacular accident happened just in front of him causing the session to be red flagged. JJ Lehto was able to complete his final lap, taking the pole position away from Werner in the very last moment of the shortened session.

The 1.15-mile, 13-turn temporary street circuit is extremely tricky, narrow and surrounded by concrete walls. Add to this four different classes of sports cars (37 in total) and you have the setting for a very interesting and challenging race. While passing is not ideal on this circuit, it will be happening almost all over the track. The key to winning this weekend's race can be summed up in one word- survival.

The eighth round of the American Le Mans Series takes the green flag on Saturday, September 27 at 4:00 p.m. (EDT). The ALMS race will be televised live by SPEED Channel and broadcast online by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web at www.americanlemans.com.

DRIVER QUOTES:

INFINEON TEAM JOEST

Marco Werner:

"Congratulations to JJ Lehto who took pole position away from me in the very last moment. Before the first red flag came out, everything went perfectly. I was clearly ahead of JJ. After the break, the second set of tires did not reach working temperatures as quickly as the first one. On top of that I ran into traffic and did not get a single clear lap. Finally, the accident which caused the session to be stopped, happened just in front of me. Fortunately, I was able to anticipate what was going to happen and I slowed down early enough."

Frank Biela:

"The track is narrow but is fun to drive - apart from the extreme bump before start/finish which is really a problem. Fortunately the slippery part of the track from last year has disappeared. The rest of the track is as you expect it from a street course, very slow. Marco was a bit unlucky in qualifying, but things look good for the race. The car works fine. It will be important to finish the race. Then we will see where we end up."

TEAM ADT CHAMPION RACING

Johnny Herbert:

"In last year's Miami race our Champion Audi had looked in good shape after delaying our pit-stop until a caution period. I pitted and handed over to Stefan Johansson in the lead after 80 minutes but an air hose became tangled around the Audi's rear wing as he left our pit resulting in a stop-go penalty and we eventually finished fifth. I've driven on a number of temporary street circuits in my career but Miami is extremely narrow featuring very few overtaking opportunities. JJ and I must win to keep the championship alive."

JJ Lehto:

"I'm delighted to have rewarded the team with its first ALMS pole of the year -- especially considering it's Champion's home race. We've got ourselves a good car for the race but it will be very tough -- lapping the backmarkers will be incredible for over two hours on such a tight and narrow track. Last year's Miami race was my best ALMS event of the year finishing second, just 14-seconds behind the winning 'factory' Audi of Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro. I'm hoping to go one better this time for Team ADT Champion Racing, especially after getting this pole."

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Series ALMS
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Stefan Johansson , Frank Biela , Marco Werner , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto