Laguna Seca: Audi qualifying report

SALINAS, Ca. (September 6, 2003) - Seeking his third consecutive American Le Mans Series win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Frank Biela started the quest on a positive note Saturday by setting the fastest time of the day during qualifying for ...

SALINAS, Ca. (September 6, 2003) - Seeking his third consecutive American Le Mans Series win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Frank Biela started the quest on a positive note Saturday by setting the fastest time of the day during qualifying for Sunday's Fry's Electronics Sports Car Championships event.

Biela, driving the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8 that he will share with Marco Werner, turned a lap of 1:16.224 on the 2.238-mile circuit. The lap was the fastest overall among the 35 cars that recorded times in the session as well as the leading time in the LMP 900 class.

Biela and Werner (both from Germany) lead the American Le Mans Series driver point standings in the LMP 900 class and have taken overall wins in three of the six ALMS races held this season.

"Of course it's always nice being the fastest," said Biela. "The car was not bad, and the time quite good. At Laguna Seca it is always difficult to find a good setup because the track usually is very slippery but regardless, I am still very happy."

The ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 of JJ Lehto and Johnny Herbert was third fastest today qualifying just three-tenths behind the LMP 675 of Chris Dyson and James Weaver. Johnny Herbert clocked a time of 1:16.842 while James Weaver scored 1:16.555.

The Fry's Electronics Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will be televised live on NBC Sports from 4:00 -- 6:00 p.m. (EDT). Live coverage of the race can be heard free of charge by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web and can be accessed online at www.americanlemans.com

DRIVER QUOTES:

INFINEON TEAM JOEST

Frank Biela: "This has been my first 'real' pole position this year and my first at Laguna Seca. Of course, I'm very happy. On Friday, I was able to record a 1:16.653. After the free practice sessions, which had been slower, I was not sure if I would be able to repeat this today. But during qualifying, I was even able to go faster. I think, we also have a very good car for the race, because we were driving a lot in practice with quite a lot of fuel."

Marco Werner: "Despite the Laguna Seca track missing a few very fast corners, it's fun to drive here. I had heard a lot about the famous 'Cork Screw' so it's great to finally be able to drive through it myself. The biggest problem at Laguna Seca is the sand which gets blown on the track by the wind. Due to that, conditions keep changing. You have to be prepared for that. Traffic is also a problem. You have to be very careful. Sunday is going to be very exciting."

TEAM ADT CHAMPION RACING

Johnny Herbert: "I was on provisional pole for each of my three flying laps but Frank [Biela] ultimately bettered my times. The front tires were starting to grip nicely on my fourth flier but I had to back off when the red flag appeared. It was decided to 'save' the tires [for the race] which is why I didn't go back out when qualifying resumed. Unfortunately in those final five minutes, we were bumped off the front row. I've finished second here for the past two years so I would dearly like to think we can go one better in my third Laguna race and score a win. The team has worked hard to give us a competitive car and it would be good to reward them."

JJ Lehto: "We have made definite progress over the past two days in getting a good set-up on the R8 - it was a major struggle on Friday with massive understeer [push]. It's extremely important to finish ahead of the Joest Audi in the race in terms of the ALMS championship. I'm third in the Driver's standings and Champion Racing is placed second in the Team's category. With only two races remaining after Laguna, it is mathematically possible to win both titles by winning the last three races even if Joest finish second in all three so the last three races are going to be very, very interesting."

-audi-

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Frank Biela , James Weaver , Marco Werner , JJ Lehto