Audi prematurely ALMS Champion ALMS: Audi has prematurely clinched the Manufacturers' title of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). After a dominant victory of Frank Biela and Marco Werner at Laguna Seca (California), Audi is out of reach for its...
Audi prematurely ALMS Champion
ALMS: Audi has prematurely clinched the Manufacturers' title of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). After a dominant victory of Frank Biela and Marco Werner at Laguna Seca (California), Audi is out of reach for its rivals before the two final races. After 2000, 2001 and 2002 Audi has won the title already a fourth time in a row.
Frank Biela and Marco Werner steered their Infineon Team Joest Audi R8 to a brillant victory on the demanding track near Monterey (US state of California). The two Germans were setting the pace at Laguna Seca since the first day of practice. On Saturday, Biela took his 10th pole position in the ALMS by quite a margin. In the race, Biela and Werner were leading 115 of the 120 laps with their Audi R8. Only after the first scheduled pit-stop, Infineon Team Joest briefely lost the lead to the MG Lola of James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger, which was almost a full lap down at the end of the 2:45-hour race.
"This has been a perfect weekend", said a glad Frank Biela after Team Joest's fourth outright victory of the season. "We had a superb car from the very beginning. The race went perfectly. It was nice to set the pace. I was able to pull away from the competitors." Biela handed the R8 to Marco Werner shortly before the half-time mark of the race with almost one minute advantage. Werner stayed in the lead even after the second refuelling stop. "It was a completely new feeling for me to drive without pressure," said Werner. "In such a case it is difficult to keep the concentration. That's why the race was not so easy."
Frank Biela and Marco Werner extended their lead in the Drivers' Championship to 18 points, the two Germans also taking advantage from Team ADT Champion Racing's bad luck. Johnny Herbert was running second with the Champion Audi after the start behind Frank Biela. He dropped to third when a circuit breaker for the turbo boost pressure control popped out - aparently a consequence of a wiring fire in the morning warm-up.
Shortly before the end of the first hour, the Champion Team decided to change the rear section of the Audi R8 as precaution. "I heared some strange noise coming from the gearbox," explained Johnny Herbert. "The team did not want to take any risk and decided to change the gearbox." This change cost eight minutes and dropped the Champion R8 to 24th position. Recording fast lap times, JJ Lehto was able to fight his way back to fourth place. Herbert/Lehto even finished on the podium in the LMP900 class.
Audi Junior Martin Tomczyk grabs first point
DTM: Three Audi drivers managed to finish in the points in front of 60,000 spectators in the season's eighth round of the DTM (German Touring Car Masters) at the A1-Ring in Austria. Martin Tomczyk had more reason to celebrate than anyone else. The S line Audi Junior Team driver secured his first point in the current season with his eighth place finish. "It was a hard-earned point," explained the 21-year-old, who regularly occupies starting positions at the front but had had some bad luck during the races. "I had a good start. I kept out of trouble on the opening lap and was behind Mattias (Ekstrom) in seventh. The first pit stop was amazing - our strategy fit perfectly. The well-deserved reward: My first point - and that's really something!"
Laurent Aiello and Mattias Ekstrom of the Abt-Audi Team were equally responsible for the team's strong performance. The defending DTM champion Aiello just missed landing in the winners' circle with his fourth place finish. He was barely able to maintain the very slight possibility of being able to defend his title, as he is 20 points behind championship leader Bernd Schneider.
Mattias Ekstrom, who started the race from the seventh position, gave the crowd an exciting show, duelling against his French teammate and followed Aiello across the finish line in fifth place. The Swede took a deep breath after the finish, saying, "That was a hard race. I fought until I saw the checkered flag, but I just couldn't gain any ground. I'm looking towards the future. Zandvoort, where we're driving in two weeks, should fit better us better." Team Director Hans-Jurgen Abt made a similar statement: "We knew before that it would be hard for us at the A1-Ring, where the fans by the way provide a great mood for racing. For this reason, I am satisfied at the moment. We gave it our all, and three drivers finished in the points. In this strong field, that's an amazing result."
Peter Terting (19) had yet again another perfect race at the eighth DTM event of his young career, finishing 13th. In doing so, the youngest driver in DTM history put on a great show with his duels that were well worth seeing. "It was a great race for me from the beginning to the chequered flag," said Terting. "I was able to pass some opponents, but I lost two places because my first pit stop was slow. Also in the final stages of the race, I had some nice battles, but then didn't want to risk anything."
The racing weekend did not go exactly as planned for Christian Abt or Karl Wendlinger. Abt was out in the first lap after he was involved in a first-lap accident on the way to the second corner. Teammate Wendlinger finished 16th on his home track.
Audi Pilot Randy Pobst stays in title race
SPEED GT: By finishing third at Laguna Seca, Audi driver Randy Pobst remained in the title race in the North American SPEED World GT Challenge. Pobst, driving Champion Racing's Audi RS 6 Competition, improved from third to second in the series' overall classification. At Laguna Seca, Pobst started from pole position, but slid off the track while fighting for the lead with eventual winner Paul Mumford. Dropped to eleventh position, the Audi driver was able to fight his way back to third. "Today my RS 6 was simply fantastic," enthused Pobst. "The final laps were very exciting."
<pre> Audi Motorsport in numbers
Laguna Seca (USA), 7 September, Round 7 of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) 1 Biela/Werner (Audi R8) laps in 2h 45m 30.373s 2 Weaver/Leitzinger (MG Lola) + 1m 22.283s 3 Beretta/Saelens (Panoz) - 2 laps 4 Herbert/Lehto (Audi R8) - 5 laps 5 Lewis/Drissi (R&S-Lincoln) - 7 laps Positions after 7 of 9 rounds: 1 Biela and Werner, 135 points; 3 Lehto, 117; 4 Herbert, 114; 5 Beretta, 92. Next race: Miami (USA), 27 September
A1-Ring (A), 7 September, Round 8 of the DTM 1 Marcel Fassler (Mercedes) 40 laps in 1h 2m 53.685s 2 Bernd Schneider (Mercedes) + 0.683s 3 Christijan Albers (Mercedes) + 5.835s 4 Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R) + 9.878s 5 Mattias Ekstrom (Abt-Audi TT-R) + 23.820s Positions after 8 of 10 rounds: 1 Schneider, 57 points; 2 Albers, 54; 3 Fassler, 48; 4 Aiello, 37; 5 Ekstrom, 32. Next race: Zandvoort (NL), 21 September
Laguna Seca (USA), 7 September, Round 8 of the SPEED GT World Challenge 1 Paul Mumford (Dodge) 28 laps in 48m 00.984s 2 Bill Auberlen (BMW) + 0.745s 3 Randy Pobst (Audi RS 6 Competition) + 15.262s 4 Hans Stuck (BMW) + 17.274s 5 Boris Said (BMW) + 18.554s Positions after 8 of 10 rounds: 1 Auberlen, 208 points; 2 Pobst, 188; 3 McClure, 163; 4 Stuck and Fitzgerald, 157. Next race: Road Atlanta (USA), 17 October
Coming up this week
Audi drivers Christian Abt, Laurent Aiello, Frank Biela, Mattias Ekstrom, Emanuele Pirro, Peter Terting, Martin Tomczyk, Karl Wendlinger and Marco Werner are signing autographs and will give interviews Saturday and Sunday at the IAA at Frankfurt on the stand of the AUDI AG in hall 3 ... Stefan Johansson becomes 47 on Monday ...