Adelaide, December 31, 2000 -- Chrysler Viper Team ORECA rounded off their second season of the American Le Mans Series in the best possible fashion, scoring yet another 1-2 at the final round in Adelaide, Australia. Watched by an estimated 65,000...
Adelaide, December 31, 2000 -- Chrysler Viper Team ORECA rounded off their second season of the American Le Mans Series in the best possible fashion, scoring yet another 1-2 at the final round in Adelaide, Australia. Watched by an estimated 65,000 people, Olivier Beretta, Karl Wendlinger and Dominique Dupuy raced to a comfortable victory and a spectacular third position overall, taking advantage of the high attrition rate of the faster but more fragile Le Mans prototypes to lift themselves onto the podium.
The lead car started from pole position and was only headed during the pit stops as it strode to a masterful, trouble-free victory in the 1000km event. The sister car of Ni Amorim and Jean-Philippe Belloc was forced into an extra pit stop early in the race as the radiators filled with leaves and overheated the engine. It was the only delay as the pair raced to second in class and fourth overall.
"We had no option than to come here and win," said champion driver Olivier Beretta. "If we didn't there was only one route back to Europe, and that was to swim. We were on a street track with the faster prototypes so we had to be careful. My only worry was at my second stop when I had a fuel vapour lock and it took a long time to get the engine started.
"This is the last time that I will drive the car in a race and it is a strange feeling. I have had a lot of good co-drivers with Pedro [Lamy], Karl and Dominique and we have all worked well together. We have had many good years since the start of the programme in 1996 with the help of Chrysler's engineers in the US and ORECA ."
Pierre Dieudonne , Sporting Director at ORECA, said: "The feeling is great! We knew that it would be a sad moment to park the cars for the last time, but we finished third and fourth overall, crossing the line together. At one point I thought that it would be like Daytona and we could perhaps win overall.
"It is an emotional moment for us all. The Viper has helped to raise the profile of Chrysler and of team ORECA. It is now by far the most successful American production based racing car in history. The team put on a tremendous performance this weekend for the last appearance of this generation Viper. I am glad we finished in style. We certainly deserve a drink or two tonight. Happy New Year!"