Sebring: Champion Racing qualifying report

Team ADT Champion Racing On Pole For 12 Hours of Sebring Race SEBRING, Fla. (March 18, 2004) - JJ Lehto, "The Flying Finn" lived up to his reputation as he put in the fastest lap to claim the pole position for Team ADT Champion Racing for the...

Team ADT Champion Racing On Pole For 12 Hours of Sebring Race

SEBRING, Fla. (March 18, 2004) - JJ Lehto, "The Flying Finn" lived up to his reputation as he put in the fastest lap to claim the pole position for Team ADT Champion Racing for the 52nd running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. This is Lehto's second pole at Sebring International Raceway. He won the pole in 1999 while driving for BMW in the LMP 900 class.

Lehto's qualifying time of 1:48:710 was just three tenths behind the LMP1 record set by Tom Kristensen driving an Audi R8 in 2002.

"I'm very happy to get the pole, not only for myself but also for Team ADT Champion Racing," said Lehto. "I've been really happy with the car so far. We didn't do any testing until we came here but with all the preparation the team did, we obviously didn't need to."

Lehto (Finland) will have strength in numbers as two of the finest sports car racers join him for the 12 hour race on Saturday. Returning to the cockpit of the #38, Audi R8 LMP1, is veteran driver Emanuele Pirro and last year's American Le Mans Series Champion, Marco Werner.

Pirro (Monaco) is a three-time Le Mans winner, a former American Le Mans Series Champion (2001), and has been on the podium at Sebring every year with an Audi R8 since 2000.

"I am really excited about being back at Sebring and to be driving for Team ADT Champion racing again," said Pirro. "Last year's race was really good for us until the end, of course! I haven't been in the car yet as I only arrived last night but if JJ tells me it's good, then I know it's good!"

Marco Werner (Germany) will round out the trio. Werner's first time in an Audi R8 was exactly this time last year driving for Infineon Team Joest. Werner drove a double stint at the end of the race to give his team the victory over Champion. Werner was also presented the first Rookie of the Year award in American Le Mans Series history.

"Congratulations to JJ," remarked Werner. "We've worked really well together this week and I think it will also be the same with Emanuele. I liked winning last year so I would like to do it again. Champion Racing has prepared a very good racecar. I have enjoyed working with them so far."

This is Champion Racing's (Pompano Beach, Fl) fourth return to the oldest sports car endurance race in the United States. The 3.7 mile, 17-turn circuit of Sebring International Raceway is one of the toughest tracks on both car and driver as it was built in 1952 as a World War ll military training airfield. Add to that the fact that several hours of the race are run in the dark. This night portion will be one of the mot difficult times the driver will spend in the car. Except for a few spots around the track that are floodlit, the drivers only have their headlights to tell then what's around the next corner.

The 52nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will get the green flag at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 20, and will be televised live from flag-to-flag by the Speed Channel. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.

For more information on Champion Racing, please visit www.championracing.net. For more information on Audi's motorsport program, please visit www.audiusa.com.

-cr-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Tom Kristensen , Marco Werner , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto