Trois-Rivieres: Friday test session report

TROIS-RIVIERES, QC, Canada - The ADT Champion Racing Audi R8, by the slimmest of margins, set the fast time of the day Friday as American Le Mans Series race teams had two hours of testing for Sunday's Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. Johnny ...

TROIS-RIVIERES, QC, Canada - The ADT Champion Racing Audi R8, by the slimmest of margins, set the fast time of the day Friday as American Le Mans Series race teams had two hours of testing for Sunday's Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres.

Johnny Herbert and JJ Lehto will share the Champion Audi R8, which led Friday's unofficial test session with a lap of 59.741 seconds on the 1.521-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit. But close behind them was the Dyson Racing Lola EX257-MG of James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger, winner of last week's ALMS event at Sonoma, Calif., at 59.895 seconds.

The session results seemed to renew the battle of last week's event, in which the Dyson car made history as the first car ever to win overall in an ALMS event that wasn't from the Prototype 900 class. The Dyson car is from the LMP 675 class for smaller, less-powerful Prototypes.

Lehto was in the Champion Audi R8 when it set the fast time late in the session. The Finn is making his first appearance in the historic Trois-Rivieres event, which is being run for the 35th time.

"I was quite happy with the circuit," said Lehto, who formerly raced in both Formula One and CART. "The surface is the same everywhere, which is not like a lot of other street circuits. The corners are nice and well-made, and the circuit is not too bumpy.

"We did our normal Friday setup work and didn't try to do anything special," he said.

The Champion team's main competition in the LMP 900 class didn't have such a smooth day on Friday. The session was red-flagged after only 10 minutes due to a turn 10 crash by Marco Werner in the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8. The car suffered damage to its front suspension, under tray, front body work and steering, but will be repaired in time for Saturday's first official practice.

"I slightly touched the inside wall of Turn 10, breaking the right steering arm," said Werner, co-winner earlier this year of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. "That's why I went straight into the tires on the outside of that corner, causing most of the damage. I feel really sorry for the team which now has to do some extra work to repair the car."

Werner had posted a lap of 1:00.127 before the crash, the time ending up third in the test session. His co-driver, Frank Biela, raced here last year but never got in the car on Friday.

The second Dyson entry driven by Chris Dyson and Andy Wallace was second-fastest in the LMP 675 class and fourth overall at 1:00.512, while rounding out the top five overall was the Panoz LMP01 of JML Team Panoz, driven by Olivier Beretta and David Saelens to a lap of 1:00.754.

Oliver Gavin and Kelly Collins set the fast time in the GTS class at 1:01.877 in the factory Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, with Gavin posting the time late in the session after he had had time to learn the circuit. Corvette's other car, driven by Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell, was second-fastest at 1:02.379, with Fellows having led the session until Gavin's late charge.

The two Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello entries were third and fourth in the GTS class, with David Brabham and Jan Magnussen using their experience from last year's race here to run a fast lap of 1:03.225.

The GT class was led by 1:04.926 by Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister in the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS. The other Job car, driven by Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen, was second at 1:05.013, followed by the PK Sport Porsche of Robin Liddell and Alex Davison at 1:05.919.

Saturday's schedule calls for official practice and qualifying. Sunday's three-hour timed event starts at 2:45 p.m. (EDT) and will be televised live by the SPEED Channel. Live coverage by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web of both qualifying and the race can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Andy Wallace , Johnny Herbert , David Saelens , David Brabham , Jan Magnussen , Frank Biela , Butch Leitzinger , James Weaver , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Robin Liddell , Sascha Maassen , Kelly Collins , Lucas Luhr , Oliver Gavin , Jörg Bergmeister , Timo Bernhard , Marco Werner , Alex Davison , Olivier Beretta , Alex Job , Chris Dyson , JJ Lehto
Teams Dyson Racing , Alex Job Racing