Road America: Qualifying report

Werner wins pole for Road America 500 as track records fall. ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 23, 2003) - Marco Werner drove the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8 to the pole position for Sunday's American Le Mans Series Road America 500 presented by the ...

Werner wins pole for Road America 500 as track records fall.

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 23, 2003) - Marco Werner drove the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8 to the pole position for Sunday's American Le Mans Series Road America 500 presented by the Chicago Tribune during a record-setting qualifying session Saturday. New records were set in three of the four classes of competition.

Werner, who will co-drive with Frank Biela, won the overall pole with a lap of 1:52.265, just slower than the track LMP 900 qualifying record of 1:52.166 that was set in the inaugural ALMS event at Road America last year by Tom Kristensen. Werner and Biela will be going for their third consecutive overall win in American Le Mans Series competition.

"I am enjoying driving on this circuit," said Werner of the ultra-fast four-mile track. "I like fast turns and fast straights and this circuit has them. Most of the circuits in Europe are made for Formula One and they have slow turns and hairpins. It's a pleasure to come to America and Canada and get to race on these fast circuits. I'm learning more and more every lap and looking forward to the race."

James Weaver won the LMP 675 class pole position, and qualified second overall, in the Dyson Racing Lola EX257-MG with a lap of 1:52.442, breaking the previous class record of 1:54.909. Weaver will co-drive with Butch Leitzinger as they seek their second overall win of 2003.

"I think I flat got beaten," said Weaver. "I thought our car was going really well and then Marco had a stunning qualifying lap, so fair play to him. I think the cars are very equally matched."

Johnny Herbert and JJ Lehto will start third overall, second in P900, in the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8, while Jon Field and Duncan Dayton will roll off fourth overall and second in P675 in the Intersport Lola EX257-MG.

Oliver Gavin continued his domination of qualifying in the GTS class, winning the pole for the fourth time in five attempts this season in the factory Chevrolet Corvette C5-R he will share with Kelly Collins. Gavin's time of 2:01.969 obliterated the previous track record of 2:03.812 that was set last year.

"The car was great," said Gavin, whose team had to hastily prepare a car for Gavin and Collins after their primary car was severely damaged in last week's race in Canada. "This was a new test chassis that we thought about running at Le Mans. The boys only had two days to put it together and it sure is a nice piece to drive."

Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell were second-fastest in the GTS class in the other factory Corvette at 2:02.155, followed by the Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maramello of Tomas Enge and Peter Kox at 2:02.203.

Lucas Luhr won his first GT class pole of the season in the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS at 2:09.124, much faster than the 2:12.862 that he ran to win the pole and set the track record last year. Luhr will co-drive with Sascha Maassen.

"I like this course, it's wonderful," said Luhr. "It's not an easy circuit to drive, the line has to be right. I was very surprised when I saw the lap time and how fast it was; I thought it was a mistake. The car is running good and we had a perfect lap."

The other Job Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister and Timo Bernhard was second-fastest at 2:09.493, followed by the Orbit Racing Porsche of Marc Lieb and Peter Baron at 2:09.764.

Sunday's race starts at 1 p.m. (CDT) and will be televised live by the SPEED Channel. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Duncan Dayton , Tomas Enge , Tom Kristensen , Frank Biela , Butch Leitzinger , James Weaver , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Jon Field , Sascha Maassen , Kelly Collins , Lucas Luhr , Peter Baron , Oliver Gavin , Jörg Bergmeister , Peter Kox , Timo Bernhard , Marco Werner , Alex Job , JJ Lehto
Teams Dyson Racing , HART