Mosport: Audi North America race notes

Infineon Team Joest makes it four in a row for Audi. BOWMANVILLE, Canada (August 17, 2003) -- Teammates Frank Biela and Marco Werner gave Audi and their team (Infineon Team Joest) their fourth victory today at Mosport International Raceway. ...

Infineon Team Joest makes it four in a row for Audi.

BOWMANVILLE, Canada (August 17, 2003) -- Teammates Frank Biela and Marco Werner gave Audi and their team (Infineon Team Joest) their fourth victory today at Mosport International Raceway. The drivers of the Audi R8 scored their third overall win in five ALMS races this year and extended their lead in the series point standings.

Fast pit-stops and a perfect strategy were the key to success for the reigning ALMS champions. After the start, Frank Biela was running third in the Joest R8. Thanks to an early pit-stop during the first caution period, Biela was able to take the lead. When Biela was slowed down by a lapped GT car, the German was again relegated to second place behind JJ Lehto in the Champion Audi. When Biela and Lehto came into the pits at the same time for their second pit-stops, the Joest crew brought their R8 again back into the lead with a faster pit-stop.

Marco Werner, racing on the difficult Mosport race track for the very fist time, defended the lead until the finish despite coming under enormous pressure from former Formula 1 driver Johnny Herbert. For many laps, only tenths of a second separated the two Audis. They even made contact once but Werner withstood the pressure.

For Team ADT Champion Racing, it was yet another unfortunate day. Both JJ Lehto and Johnny Herbert drove an incredibly strong race today and almost persevered had it not been for some unfortunate circumstances.

Lehto drove the first stint and almost took the lead from the pole sitter (James Weaver/LMP675) when he dove into corner 1. He would continue his hard charge by passing competitor Frank Biela once, and somehow managing to get back on course after another LMP900's right rear tire went flat. Lehto almost tagged this car but was able to maneuver quickly enough to get himself back on track without losing any positions.

It was 1 hour and 41 minutes later that the tide would turn on Team ADT Champion Racing. Both Audi R8 teams would come into the pits at the same time, perform the same functions (tires, fuel, and driver change) but it was once again the speed of the Infineon Team Joest crew that finished first therefore allowing driver Marco Werner to pass rival Johnny Herbert in the pits.

Werner would maintain the lead while Herbert battled intensely behind him through the slower traffic. Then disaster struck Herbert on lap 100, 19-minutes from the checker when Herbert, less than one second behind leader Werner, was forced wide over a high curb to avoid a backmarker. Herbert brought the Audi into the pits with front, right suspension damage.

The team made repairs getting Herbert back in the race with minutes to spare to take the checker, 20th overall and 13-laps behind the winning Werner/Biela Audi after Johnny had to serve a stop-go penalty on the last lap.

The next race for the American Le Mans Series is the Road America 500 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, August 22-24.

Driver quotes:

Infineon Team Joest

Frank Biela: "These were important points, now we can go into the next races with a little bit less pressure. As in the previous races, the Joest team was the key to our success. The crew did a superb job in the pits bringing the car back in front after both pit-stops. Personally, I was not so happy today because the car oversteered a lot which I don't like. But the most important thing is that we did it."

Marco Werner: "I am really happy because it was really hard in traffic. At Road Atlanta I lost a lot of time in traffic but this time I was much better and brought the victory home. I have to say thank you especially to the team. The boys brought me into the right position during the pit-stop - this was once more typical Joest!"

Team ADT Champion Racing

Johnny Herbert: "I'm very, very disappointed -- I'm extremely annoyed with the driving standards of some of these drivers. I was forced on to the curb and that was that. Finished! I'm choked."

JJ Lehto: "The car was very good when I was at the wheel - absolutely perfect apart from a little oversteer."

-asna-

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