American Le Mans driving titles up for grabs as season concludes at Audi Presents Petit Le Mans. BRASELTON, Ga. (October 6, 2002) -- The driver's championships in all four classes of the American Le Mans Series are still up for grabs as the ...
American Le Mans driving titles up for grabs as season concludes at Audi Presents Petit Le Mans.
BRASELTON, Ga. (October 6, 2002) -- The driver's championships in all four classes of the American Le Mans Series are still up for grabs as the final event of the 2002 season arrives on the schedule.
Audi presents Petit Le Mans, a 1,000-mile (or 10 hours) endurance event to be run Saturday at Road Atlanta, will conclude the 10-race season for the sports car racing series. Despite many outstanding performances during the nine races run so far this season, no driver has yet clinched a championship, and the possibility of four first-time series champions is very real. Because of its length, Saturday's race will award five extra points per position, meaning that standings could shuffle considerably.
Although American Le Mans Series races feature two and sometimes three drivers sharing cars in races, a bonus point system rewards performance in the events. In addition to the points awarded for finishing positions, drivers can earn one bonus point for winning the pole position for their class in an event, and one bonus point is awarded to the driver who runs the most laps in each car.
Tom Kristensen, who drives for Audi Sport North America, holds a slim three-point lead over fellow Audi driver Rinaldo Capello in the standings for drivers in the LMP 900 (Prototype) class. Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro, who have co-driven their factory Audi to wins in the last two ALMS races, are in third and fourth positions, with Biela trailing Kristensen by 14 points. Pirro, the defending ALMS champion, is 15 points down to Kristensen.
In the LMP 675 class for smaller Prototypes, Jon Field leads by 11 points over Ben Devlin. Field, who drives a Lola EX257-MG fielded by his own Intersport team, and Devlin, who drives a Lola B2K40-Millington for Archangel Motorsports, will decide the title between them at Road Atlanta as third-place Jeff Bucknum is too many points behind to catch Field. A driver can earn a maximum of 32 points in the race, and Bucknum is 36 behind Field.
Ron Fellows holds what appears to be a comfortable lead of 23 points in the GTS class driver points. However, the driver for the factory Chevrolet Corvette C5-R team was in a similar position last year and lost the championship to Terry Borcheller after his car failed in the opening laps of the Road Atlanta event and he scored no points. Kelly Collins, who drives the other factory Corvette, is second in the standings. Andy Pilgrim, Collins' driving partner, and Johnny O'Connell, who co-drives with Fellows, are tied for third, one point behind Collins. Pilgrim and Collins have won the GTS class at Audi presents Petit Le Mans two consecutive years.
Lucas Luhr, driver for Alex Job Racing in a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, leads the GT class standings of the series by one point over co-driver Sascha Maassen. No other driver is close enough to be a factor in the GT class championship battle.
Pirro is the only former champion of the American Le Mans Series still in contention for a championship. The rest of the contenders would all be first-time series champions.
Audi presents Petit Le Mans starts at 11:30 a.m. (EDT) Saturday and will conclude well-past nightfall. Practice and qualifying will be held on the previous day, along with an autograph session for ALMS drivers. The race will be televised live from flag to flag by the SPEED Channel, with live coverage by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web available online at www.americanlemans.com.
Ticket information for Audi presents Petit Le Mans weekend is available online at www.roadatlanta.com or by calling 1-800-849-7223.