Road America: Champion Racing qualifying report

Herbert & Lehto look to make up lost ground in Championship Title Race. An outright victory, two overall runner-up positions plus further second and fourth LMP900 class placings would be considered a creditable "roll call" from five races for...

Herbert & Lehto look to make up lost ground in Championship Title Race.

An outright victory, two overall runner-up positions plus further second and fourth LMP900 class placings would be considered a creditable "roll call" from five races for most but not for Team ADT Champion Racing. The "privateer" Audi team has its sights set firmly on American Le Mans Series title honors and after last Sunday's cruel luck at Mosport, Johnny Herbert and JJ Lehto are especially pumped up for a top finish at Road America tomorrow (SUN).

Lehto and Herbert start the 165-minute race placed third and fourth in the Driver's standings with Team ADT Champion Racing second in the Teams' division. But with only three races remaining after tomorrow's sixth round encounter and with an 18-point deficit, Dave Maraj's Florida-based squad needs a maximum points haul. Herbert qualified the 2002-specification ADT Champion Audi R8 in third position on the 37-car grid during today's 20-minute time trial. His fastest time was a 1:52.472, an average speed of 129.568mph.

Road America featured on the ALMS calendar for the first time last July and Herbert, on his Elkhart Lake track debut, brought the ADT Champion Audi R8 home third with Stefan Johansson. Herbert's 2003 co-driver, fellow ex-Formula One single-seater ace Lehto, is also testing his skills around the sweeping 4-mile Road America track for only the second time, JJ having driven a CART race here in 1998.

Johnny Herbert (39). Born: Brentwood, Essex, UK. Lives: Monte Carlo:

ALMS stats: 21 starts, 2 win, 14 top-3s, 17 top-5s, 19 top-10s.

"I locked-up the front left tire on my first flying lap - the tire pressure was not up to temperature - and then had to abort my last quick lap when I hit traffic. It's disappointing to get bumped off the front row right at the end of the session - especially by just two-hundredths of a second - but we've got ourselves a well-balanced car that can be driven aggressively and which should be mighty strong for the race."

JJ Lehto (37). Born: Espoo, Finland. Lives: Monte Carlo:

ALMS stats: 35 starts, 11 wins (7 overall), 28 top-3s, 31 top-5s, 33 top-10s.

"The late race collision at Mosport a week ago really hurt our championship hopes. Instead of collecting 20-points or 16-pts for first or second place, we came away with 10 while our main championship rivals, the Joest Audi team, ultimately took another maximum score. We must score very well today to make up ground. Since Friday the car has been really good and I believe we have an excellent race set-up."

-cr-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Stefan Johansson , Dave Maraj , JJ Lehto