Trois-Rivieres: Champion Racing race report

Johnny Herbert and JJ Lehto earned Team ADT Champion Racing its fourth consecutive American Le Mans Series rostrum finish when the Anglo-Finnish duo steered their Audi R8 home in to second place at Trois Rivières in Quebec, Canada, today (3 ...

Johnny Herbert and JJ Lehto earned Team ADT Champion Racing its fourth consecutive American Le Mans Series rostrum finish when the Anglo-Finnish duo steered their Audi R8 home in to second place at Trois Rivières in Quebec, Canada, today (3 Aug).

Lehto started from the front row of the 30-car grid after the Florida team equalled its season's best start position courtesy of Herbert's first qualifying drive of the year.

JJ slotted in behind the pole-starting Marco Werner (Joest Audi) and at one-third distance, trailed Werner by 6.7secs - the Audi pair well clear of Butch Leitzinger/James Weaver (MG Lola).

Lehto made his scheduled fuel stop after 69 minutes (lap 64) but cruelly the race went full course yellow moments later. Werner pitted during the caution period allowing co-driver Biela to inherit an almost full one-lap lead.

Biela led Lehto by 46.9-secs at mid-distance with 82-laps clocked up and with 47-minutes to run, an exhausted Lehto brought the ADT Champion Audi in to the pits for a driver change and full service (fuel and tires).

Herbert, contesting the 20th ALMS race of his career, resumed now almost two laps behind Biela although the Joest Audi's final scheduled pit-stop eight minutes later reduced the deficit - especially when the starter motor failed to engage properly.

Herbert put Biela under intense pressure in the closing stages to get back on the lead lap which he did with six minutes remaining. Johnny ultimately took the checker 55.503-seconds behind Biela after 169 tough laps around the 1.521-mile, 11-turn street circuit.

Canada hosts the fifth round of the ALMS on 17 August at the Mosport International Raceway, Bowmanville, Ontario.

Johnny Herbert (39). Born: Brentwood, Essex, UK. Lives: Monte Carlo:

"The race was decided at the first pit-stops, with us pitting for fuel under normal race conditions and Joest stopping during the caution period. It was a physical race, the bumpy nature of the track and the humid conditions combining to make it tiring. The car was good throughout my run, there was just too much time to make up on the Joest Audi."

JJ Lehto (37). Born: Espoo, Finland. Lives: Monte Carlo:

"I pushed as hard as I could and we stayed pretty close but we made our first pit-stop too early and then the race went full course yellow moments later. I drove for over two-hours, on the same set of tires, and I was totally exhausted at the end. I couldn't do up the seat belts for Johnny -- I had no feeling in my fingers for the last 20 minutes of my stint."

SPEED GT WORLD CHALLENGE (Rd7, Road America):

Reigning Speed GT World Challenge champion Michael Galati upheld Champion Racing's honor in an eventful seventh round of the Speed GT World Challenge at Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis., today (3 Aug).

Galati steered his Audi RS 6 Competition home in to a fine second place - his best result of the season - just 1.1-secs behind winner Mike Fitzgerald (Porsche) in the 18-lap race which finished under full course yellow.

Meanwhile team-mate Randy Pobst, who had led the early laps around the famous 4.048-mile, 14-turn track, was registered with 21st position - four laps down - after a steering problem dropped him out of third place. Pobst slips from second to third in the standings.

Randy started the 72.864-mile race third on the 24-car grid with Galati on the fourth row but Pobst blasted his way in to the lead at the green light and led until Fitzgerald, Bill Auberlen (BMW), and Hans Stuck (BMW) muscled past on lap six dropping him to fourth, two places ahead of Galati.

Pobst slipped ahead of Stuck on the next lap but Randy went wide and in to the gravel at Turn 12 on the 11th lap. He returned to the pits for repairs but the hood then worked loose as Pobst exited the pits, necessitating Randy to get out of his car to secure it himself.

Galati was sixth at the re-start but benefited when first Stuck lost places on lap 16, then when Auberlen, still running second to Fitzgerald, was given a stop-go penalty for a re-start infringement. Michael then demoted Michael McCann (Viper) and Phil McClure (Corvette) on the penultimate lap.

The 10-race series takes a one-month break before the next race at Laguna Seca, Monterey, CA., on 7 September.

Michael Galati (43). Born: Alcaralifusi, Messina, Sicily. Lives: N. Olmsted, Ohio:

"That was one incredible race. I made a good start but the brakes had lost their bite by one-third distance and I went in to the gravel at one stage. But thankfully the full course yellow allowed me to cool off the brakes and I got past McCann and then McClure. We're getting there and the Audi has bags more potential."

Randy Pobst (46). Born: Dayton, Ohio. Lives: Gainesville, Georgia:

"The Audi's quattro traction allowed me to take the lead but the other guys quickly caught me. Then something caused me to go straight-on at Canada Corner. I got back to the pits where the boys made repairs only for the hood to fly open. I secured that myself but then had to make another stop."

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Butch Leitzinger , James Weaver , Bill Auberlen , Randy Pobst , Michael Galati , Marco Werner , Phil McClure , Michael McCann , JJ Lehto