BY THE NUMBERS: INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA PRESENTED BY RAVENSWOOD WINERY Braselton, Ga. - Well, we're halfway home. The Infineon Technologies Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Ravenswood Winery was the fifth round of the...
BY THE NUMBERS: INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA PRESENTED BY RAVENSWOOD WINERY
Braselton, Ga. - Well, we're halfway home. The Infineon Technologies Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Ravenswood Winery was the fifth round of the 10-round American Le Mans Series. And so far, there have been a number of interesting happenings, some of which we'll get to shortly.
But it's not too early to start talking about points and the ALMS' championship chase. There are tight battles in each of the four classes, and it's likely that many won't be decided until the final two races of the year: Petit Le Mans and the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, both of which pay additional points. Here's a glimpse at where things stand now:
LMP1: With three victories this year and 87 points, JJ Lehto and Marco Werner are in control of a second straight drivers championship. They lead Champion Racing teammates Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro by just 3 points, thanks to Biela's and Pirro's first victory of the season Sunday at Infineon in their No. 2 Audi R8. Andy Wallace of Dyson Racing is third with 77 points, three ahead of teammate Chris Dyson.
In the battle for the team championship, Champion leads Dyson by 15 points.
LMP2: Jeff Bucknum and Chris McMurry, teammates in the No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage, each have 62 points and are 6 points clear of Intersport Racing's Clint Field. Field gained ground Sunday as he and Liz Halliday drove the No. 37 Intersport Lola to a class win over the Miracle team. At 49 points, B-K Motorsports' Jamie Bach and Guy Cosmo aren't out of the picture.
The team standings are the same: Miracle with 62, Intersport with 56 and B-K Motorsports with 49.
GT1: Corvette Racing is well out front in the team standings, but its four drivers appear as if they will duke it out the rest of the season. Defending champions Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell of the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C6-R have three victories and an 11-point lead on teammates Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 sister C6-R (98-87). Although they're down, Beretta and Gavin aren't out as they won three of the last four races of 2004.
In the team standings, Corvette Racing has 102 points. ACEMCO Motorsports, which fields the No. 63 Saleen S7R of Terry Borcheller and Johnny Mowlem, is second.
GT2: This one could be close. Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing drivers Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long have a class-best 87 points and are 11 ahead of Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas. But the Alex Job Racing duo is doing its best to run down the Petersen/White Lightning pair, having won three straight ALMS races. It may come down to a DNF at Sebring for Bernhard, the defending class champion, and Dumas. Bergmeister and Long have driven their No. 31 Porsche to podium finishes in every race this year, including a class victory at Sebring.
FAST LANE: When Wallace won the overall pole at Infineon, he became the fourth different driver this season to do so. With five rounds of the 2005 ALMS down, this is the deepest into the season that the series has gone without having a repeat pole winner since 2000.
So far this year, James Weaver (Road Atlanta), Hayanari Shimoda (Mid-Ohio), Werner (Lime Rock) and Wallace have been on the pole this year. In 2000, pole winners in the first five rounds were Pirro (Sebring), Lehto (Charlotte), Mimmo Schiattarella (Silverstone), Rinaldo Capello (Nurburgring) and Allan McNish (Sonoma). The 2000 ALMS went seven rounds before McNish became the first repeat pole winner at Mosport.
The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Portland Grand Prix set for July 28-30 at Portland International Raceway. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel from 8 to 11 p.m. EDT July 30, the first time an ALMS race has been broadcast in prime time. Live Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.