Elusive American Le Mans Championship on Lehto's Mind After Third Straight Win Braselton, GA - His third straight overall race win in the books, and a lead in the point standings in his grasp, JJ Lehto can be forgiven if he is beginning to think...
Elusive American Le Mans Championship on Lehto's Mind After Third Straight Win
Braselton, GA - His third straight overall race win in the books, and a lead in the point standings in his grasp, JJ Lehto can be forgiven if he is beginning to think that 2004 might be the year for him to finally win a driving championship in the American Le Mans Series.
Part of the American Le Mans Series since it was founded in 1999, and one of the most consistent winners and performers in series history, Finland's Lehto has come close but has never been able to wear the ring of a driving champion in the professional sports car racing series. But that could be changing.
Lehto and co-driver Marco Werner drove the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 to victory in Sunday's Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma at California's Infineon Raceway, giving them their third consecutive ALMS win this season. Three wins and a runner-up finish in the first four races of the nine-race ALMS season have given Lehto and Werner a 23-point lead over nearest rival Andy Wallace in the race for the LMP1 driving title.
Werner and Lehto are in their first season as teammates and Werner could become the first driver ever to win two titles in the top Prototype class of the ALMS, having won the 2003 championship with co-driver Frank Biela for Infineon Team Joest. The German driver won last year's title in his first full season of ALMS competition.
"There is still a long season to go," said the 38-year-old Lehto, a veteran of both Formula One and CART competition. "I have been racing here a long time, since 1999, and have been ahead in the points at this point and not won the championship. Hopefully, Marco (Werner) can help me win it this year.
"It's always good to win three in a row," he said. "Can it be any better? It's good for the championship. We got the maximum points again (at Infineon) and you know we had a really good race."
Ron Fellows is trying to become the first driver in American Le Mans Series history to win three straight driving championships in any class and the popular Canadian took another step toward that goal with his third GTS win of the season Sunday at Infineon Raceway .. Fellows and co-driver Johnny O'Connell drove the Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C5-R to the win at Sonoma and now lead the GTS class driver standings by 33 points over fellow Corvette pilots Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin .. The GT class driver championship battle remains very close with Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche drivers Johannes van Overbeek and Darren Law holding a slim lead of only five points over Alex Job Racing Porsche driver Timo Bernhard .. Ian James, driver of the Miracle Motorsports Lola B2K/40-Nissan, leads the LMP2 class .. The next race for the American Le Mans Series is the Portland Grand Prix at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway July 23-25 ..