ALMS: Audi teams fight for title in ALMS finale The 1000-mile race at Road Atlanta ("Petit Le Mans") will decide the outcome of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) championship battle this coming Saturday. The Audi customer teams Infineon Team ...
Audi teams fight for title in ALMS finale
The 1000-mile race at Road Atlanta ("Petit Le Mans") will decide the outcome of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) championship battle this coming Saturday. The Audi customer teams Infineon Team Joest and ADT Champion Racing fight for the Drivers´ and Teams´ titles with their Audi R8 sportscars at the ninth and final race of the 2003 season. Audi has already prematurely wrapped up the American Le Mans Manufacturers^Ò Championship.
With their 14-point advantage, the two Germans Frank Biela and Marco Werner, start the final round of the title fight as favourites. Following five victories this season, a brace of second places and a third position, the two Infineon Team Joest drivers must reach the chequered flag - or complete at least 70 percent of the race distance, to be classified in the results. In this case, Biela/Werner would still be champions even if JJ Lehto and Johnny Herbert win.
It is however, much more easily said than done. "We know that in such a long race a great deal can happen," said Frank Biela. "And nothing untoward should happen." In addition, Team Director Reinhold Joest has issued clear instructions: "Driving just to finish is absolutely out of the question for us. We want to welcome the Winter break with a victory."
That is why Frank Biela and Marco Werner have elected not to take any unnecessary risks during the opening stages of the race. "As soon as we have completed 70 percent of the race distance, we go on the attack," explained Marco Werner. "Anyhow, the moment of truth normally occurs during the last couple of hours in this race."
The situation for Team ADT Champion Racing is completely different: The three time winners this season must win the race in order to preserve their title chances. "Our chances are, however, rather small because we can only become champions if Frank and Marco don^Òt finish the race," said Lehto.
His team colleague Johnny Herbert only has a mathematical chance of winning the championship. The Briton has three points less than the Finn does, as he competed for another team at the opening race of the season at Sebring. "It would therefore be nice to win one of the ^Ñbig^Ò sportscar races this year", said Herbert.
A total of 40 sport prototypes and GT sportscars have entered the season finale. The race starts on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. local time. In the past years, the Audi works team has won the "Petit Le Mans" race three times in succession.
Coming up this week
Round nine of the SPEED GT World Challenge at Road Atlanta (Friday) ... Final round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS): Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (Saturday) ...