TROIS-RIVIERES, Canada (August 3, 2003) -- Infineon Team Joest executed a perfect race today on the 1.521mile, 11-turn racetrack of Le Circuit de Trois-Rivieres. From pole to podium, Team Joest drivers Frank Biela and Marco Werner lead the 30...
TROIS-RIVIERES, Canada (August 3, 2003) -- Infineon Team Joest executed a perfect race today on the 1.521mile, 11-turn racetrack of Le Circuit de Trois-Rivieres. From pole to podium, Team Joest drivers Frank Biela and Marco Werner lead the 30 car American Le Mans field for the entire 3 hour race.
Marco Werner's record-breaking qualifying time of 57:740 earned the #1 Audi R8 the pole position for the race. Grid next to Infineon Team Joest (just a half second slower during qualifying) was the Team ADT Champion # 38 Audi R8.
Marco Werner and JJ Lehto were side-by-side going into turn 1 but it was Werner who came out ahead and would ultimately lead the 1-2 pattern throughout the race.
Bad luck affected Team ADT Champion Racing when on lap 64, Lehto came in for some fuel and a caution period immediately followed. This put the #38 a lap down for most of the race but the hard driving of Lehto and Herbert would eventually push them back up on the lead lap. In fact Team Joest driver Frank Biela actually "gave way" to rival Johnny Herbert so as to avoid any unnecessary contact.
"It was a great win for Team Joest today," said Rod Bymaster, Motorsports Manager for Audi of America. "The pit strategy worked perfectly for them. Frank and Marco put in two great drives. They made no mistakes. And unfortunately Champion had some bad luck on a pit stop. Regardless Johnny and JJ drove a great race and Audi is proud to be one and two on the podium today.
The American Le Mans Series will have a weekend off before concluding its two-race Canadian swing with the Grand Prix of Mosport at Mosport International Raceway near Toronto August 15-17.
Infineon Team Joest
Frank Biela: "I am really happy. This was an important victory for us. It may have looked easy from the outside, but the race was not as easy despite everything going well from the beginning. Marco drove strongly. Thanks to the perfect strategy I was able to take over the car with almost one lap advantage. After the second pit-stop I was even an entire lap ahead of Johnny (Herbert) and tried to keep him behind me as long as possible. If he had un-lapped himself earlier, it could have become close once more if there had been another caution."
Marco Werner: "This weekend everything worked well. I was allowed to do the qualifying for the first time and put the car onto pole position with quite a margin. Of course this was great, especially as I was driving at Trois-Rivières for the first time. Also in the race everything went perfectly. I was able to pull away from JJ (Lehto) in traffic. Our set-up was so good that I was even able to save the tires. And I did not want to risk too much because on a track like this a small mistake can end in the wall. My thanks go to the team: I hope with this performance I have given them something back for my accident on Friday."
Team ADT Champion Racing
Johnny Herbert: "The race was decided at the first pit-stops, with us pitting for fuel under normal race conditions and Joest stopping during the caution period. It was a physical race, the bumpy nature of the track and the humid conditions combining to make it tiring. The car was good throughout my run, there was just too much time to make up on the Joest Audi."
JJ Lehto: "I pushed as hard as I could and we stayed pretty close but we stopped too early for our first pit-stop only for the race to go full course yellow moments later. I drove for over two-hours, on the same set of tires, and I was totally exhausted at the end. I couldn't do up the seat belts for Johnny -- I had no feeling in my fingers for the last 20 minutes of my stint."