Sears Point: Audi teams race report

SONOMA, Ca. (July 27, 2003) -- The Audi R8 sports cars of Infineon Team Joest and Team ADT Champion Racing finished first and second in the LMP900 class in round three of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at Infineon Raceway, California. Both...

SONOMA, Ca. (July 27, 2003) -- The Audi R8 sports cars of Infineon Team Joest and Team ADT Champion Racing finished first and second in the LMP900 class in round three of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at Infineon Raceway, California. Both Audi customer teams battled fiercely with the lighter LMP675 prototypes for most of the 2:45-hour distance. With three laps remaining, less than a second separated the overall winning LMP675 MG Lola from the second place Joest Audi R8 that earlier in the race had suffered a tire puncture.

Johnny Herbert secured the third spot on the podium for Team ADT Champion Racing passing the third place Dallara-MG on the very last corner of the exciting race.

This was a significant and historical occasion for the American Le Mans Series today as it was the first time an LMP 675 car has achieved an overall win in the ALMS. When the ACO introduced this class of car a few years ago, they had the vision that with the right set of circumstances (the right team, drivers, and race track) that the LMP 675 could compete head to head with the LMP 900 class.

The Audi R8 teams now pack up and head East for this weekend's American Le Mans Series race outside of Montreal at the street course of Trois-Rivieries. While the street course is not as hilly as Infineon Raceway, the track is short and tight thus providing another exciting venue for the two privateer Audi R8 teams in The American Le Mans Series.

Driver quotes:

Infineon Team Joest

Marco Werner: "An incredible race on a great track. This race had really everything. A couple of times it was very tight in traffic. I gave everything and drove every single lap like in qualifying. On top of that I had to save fuel at the same time. I put pressure on until the end and was hoping for a chance in traffic. I was twice very close to the MG Lola in the closing stages, but then I had to squeeze in the middle through two GT cars. The MG Lolas were extremely fast here. Despite that I have to say thank you to the Joest team. The crew did a great job."

Frank Biela: "It was an interesting race. The start was not one of my best. JJ was quite good at the beginning. Once I got past the Dyson car (#16) it got better. The yellow helped us, but the pit crew definitely got us up front. They did a brilliant job. I think we have to be happy with first place (in class). It's important for points and the championship. The Dyson car was as fast as we expected. It was a great race and interesting for the spectators."

Team ADT Champion Racing

Johnny Herbert: "We lost time on our first stop when the tire gun jammed. On the very first lap after the second re-start during my stint, it felt like I'd picked up a puncture so I pitted although it transpires it was only 'pick-up'. It took me a while to get in to some kind of rhythm but it came just at the right time. From a championship point of view, it was vital that JJ and I got a podium place today. It was a tough but enjoyable race."

JJ Lehto: "The team had made a lot of changes to the R8 overnight which made a big improvement although because Johnny had driven the warm-up this morning, I didn't know quite what to expect at the start of the race. But I just went for it at the start, I had to as no one could afford to let the leader get away. I immediately got the jump on Frank [Biela] and then traffic helped me get past Andy [Wallace] for second. I could easily keep up with Butch [Leitzinger] but couldn't get passed and so decided to just follow him closely."

-www.audiusa.com

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