WERNER, LEHTO SCORE THIRD STRAIGHT AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES WIN Sonoma, CA - JJ Lehto and Marco Werner drove the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 to victory in Sunday's Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway, their third consecutive win...
WERNER, LEHTO SCORE THIRD STRAIGHT AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES WIN
Sonoma, CA - JJ Lehto and Marco Werner drove the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 to victory in Sunday's Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway, their third consecutive win this season in the American Le Mans Series.
Chris Dyson and Andy Wallace finished second in the Dyson Racing Lola EX257-AER/MG, just over a minute behind the winners in the two-hour, 45-minute timed event on the 2.53-mile road racing circuit.
Butch Leitzinger, driving a team Lola to the Dyson/Wallace car, raced Werner hard for the lead in the first 30 minutes of the race but was eliminated from contention when his crew had to repair damage from a small fire that occurred on Leitzinger's first pit stop. The car lost four laps but Leitzinger and co-driver James Weaver rallied to finish third.
"It was a very difficult race," said Werner. "Butch made it hard for me and pushed me very much. I was able to get a break in traffic and build a bit of a lead and then they had their problem."
"We had an electrical misfire that dropped us back," said Leitzinger. "We were waiting for a yellow and we got one. We changed all the electrical (boxes) on the car and lost four laps. The car caught fire at the same time. Not a day to write home about."
Lehto drove the last half of the race in the Audi and was able to maintain a comfortable lead on the Dyson/Wallace car to the finish. "It's always good to win three in a row," said Lehto. "Can it be any better? It's good for the championship. We got the maximum points again and you know we had a really good race. We didn't have any mechanical problems like number 16 (Dyson) had unfortunately they were pushing really hard in the beginning and we thought we were going to have a hard time with them. They had the problem and we were just controlling the race after that."
FELLOWS, O'CONNELL WIN FOURTH STRAIGHT IN GTS
Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell won the GTS class in the Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, their fourth consecutive win at Infineon Raceway, tying an ALMS record for the most consecutive wins at a single venue.
"It's a win, when you win anyplace its great," said O'Connell. "When you win one time at a track you like it. When you win four times at a track you love it."
Fellows dedicated the win to Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who was to have been driving a team Corvette in the race but was injured in an accident during a practice session earlier in the day.
"It's kind of a bittersweet win," said Fellows. "We were all a little down this morning after Dale got hurt, but then we still had to get our minds on the race. We're glad to win this one for him."
The #4 Corvette of Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta led most of the race but was eliminated from contention after tangling with the lapped Lamborghini of Tracy Krohn. Gavin was at the wheel and the car suffered body damage that had to be repaired before the car could return to the track and ultimately finish third in class, ironically behind the Lamborghini shared by Krohn and Dave McEntee.
BERNHARD, BERGMEISTER WIN GT AFTER PENALTY TO LIZARD
Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister won the GT class in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR after apparent winners Johannes van Overbeek and Darren Law received a 42-second post-race penalty for driving through the pits during the race without stopping.
The win was the first of the season for Bergmeister, who was unable to drive at Sebring earlier this season due to illness and had to watch as Bernhard won the race with co-driver Sascha Maassen for the Alex Job Racing team.
Van Overbeeck and Law dominated most of the race after gaining nearly a lap lead on the field due to pit stop exchanges. However, after the race it was determined by race officials that the Flying Lizard Motorsports car had done a drive-through of the pits on its first apparent pit stop, a violation of ACO Code 18.10 which requires cars to stop, shut off the engine and then re-fire the engine upon entering the pits.
The amount of the penalty was in lieu of a stop-and-go penalty that the team would have received during the race. The penalty dropped the car to second place in the final standings.
The other Job Porsche driven by Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb finished third in the GT class.
FIELD, LIDDELL WIN AGAIN IN LMP2
Robin Liddell joined the father-son duo of Jon and Clint Field to win the LMP2 class in the Intersport Racing Lola B2K/40-Judd. It was the second win this season in the ALMS for Liddell and Clint Field, who also won earlier in the year at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Jon Field joined the team as a third driver after his LMP1 car was withdrawn from the race on Saturday due to a cracked tub.
"Hopefully we can keep him (Liddell) for awhile," said Clint Field. "Robin came in at Mid-Ohio and did a great job. We're glad to have him back and that he can keep it up at Portland. We had one of the better cars today. The Pirellis were great and helped us as the track got more and more slippery as the day went on."
Ian James and James Gue finished second in the Miracle Motorsports Lola B2K/40-Nissan, followed by the Team Bucknum Racing Pilbeam MP91-Nissan of Jeff Bucknum, Chris McMurry and Bryan Willman.
PORTLAND NEXT FOR ALMS
The American Le Mans Series will return to Portland (Ore.) International Raceway for the first time since 2001 with the running of next weekend's Portland Grand Prix. The two-hour, 45-minute race will be run on Sunday, July 25, starting at 1 p.m. (PDT).
The race will be televised live in North America by SPEED Channel, and live in Europe on MotorsTV. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage of the race and of Saturday's qualifying online at www.americanlemans.com.