August 22, 2004
Source: Champion Racing
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Co-drivers JJ Lehto (Finland) and Marco Werner (Germany), drivers of the No. 38 Audi R8 for Team ADT Champion Racing, cruised to their 5th victory in the American Le Mans Series race today at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Todays win also earned Lehto his first Drivers’ Championship and Werner his second consecutive Drivers’ Championship in the American Le Mans Series. Lehto also has achieved the most overall wins (15) in the Series five-year history.
Lehto, grided third, charged hard down the front straight away to try and make a pass going into Turn 1. After being blocked by the Dyson duo, Lehto tried once again. As Lehto attempted to gain ground going into Turn 2, Lehto’s Audi touched the back of Chris Dyson’s No. 20 car causing himself to spin and watch the 22 car field pass by. Lehto quickly re-entered the track and continued his charge on the leaders. As he did so, he consistently went two seconds quicker on each lap as he worked his way back through the field. It was just 6 laps later that Lehto would find himself behind the three lead cars.
As Lehto was breathing down the tail pipes of the 3rd place car of Clint Field’s Intersport LMP1 car, the Intersport made a pass on the No. 20 Dyson car, which also allowed Lehto to sneak through the narrow opening and move up one position. Now in third, Lehto was again hunting down the lead cars. As the Intersport car was entering Turn 5, Field spun his car once again opening the door for Lehto to jump into 2nd position.
26 laps and one hour later, Lehto came into the pits for fuel and left side tires only to continue his attack on the leader. The battle would be short lived as both of the Dyson cars retired a few laps later due to mechanical problems. It was smooth sailing from there for both Lehto and Werner until the checkered flag fell.
Next event on the American Le Mans Series schedule is Petit Le Mans, September 23-25.
JJ Lehto (Finland): “It’s been since 1988 that I won my last Championship. It feels really good. It’s still difficult to believe. I was close many times but now I got it. It was a tough race in the beginning. I was dead last and I had to fight back. Luckily we found the problems with the car yesterday and on Friday. The car was working really well today and I was able to push it hard. After the Dyson cars had their problems, we were just cruising.”
Marco Werner (Germany): “Two Championships in a row is great! I’m very proud to be on the Champion Team and to be Champion. I’m very happy for JJ and Mr. Maraj. I think tomorrow is when I will realize it more.”
Brad Kettler (Technical Director): “We had a little bit of a tough weekend leading up to this. The Champion boys kept their composure, we found our problems and the Audi R8 was dynamite today. It ran perfectly. As far as the Championship, it couldn’t happen to two nicer drivers or sportsmen.”
DRIVERS TEAM TIME/DIFFERENCE
1) J. Lehto/M. Werner ADT Champion Racing
2) J. Field/D. Dayton Intersport Racing 1 lap
3) O. Gavin/O. Beretta Corvette Racing 3 laps
4) R. Fellows/J. O’Connell Corvette Racing 13.837
5) I. James/J. Gue Miracle Motorsports 5 laps
Margin of victory: 1 lap
Time of Race: 2:46:24.215
Average race speed: 116.767
LMP 1: JJ Lehto
LMP 2: Ian James
GTS: Olivier Beretta
GT: Romain Dumas
For more information on Champion Racing, please visit www.championracing.net. For more information on Audi’s motorsport program, please visit www.audiusa.com.