LEXINGTON, OH May 22, 2005 – Today’s 2:45 minute American Le Mans Series race at Mid-Ohio provided all the drama that sports car racing is known for: strong competition, lots of traffic, hilly, windy road courses, changing weather conditions, and the inevitable unavoidable contact.The No. 2 Audi R8 piloted by Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro managed these elements well and finished the 3rd race of the 10-race season in 3rd position. Contact early in the race caused the No. 1 Audi R8 of JJ Lehto and Marco Werner to spend 35 minutes in the garage resulting in a 5th place LMP1 finish.
At the start, Pirro went wide to try to gain some ground but ultimately had to fall back into his original 4th position. As Pirro went wide, Lehto did the opposite as he tried to sneak inside Butch Leitzinger in the Dyson car but to no avail. A half a lap later there was some side-to-side contact between Lehto and Shimoda (Zytek) but not enough to cause any damage to the sturdy Audi R8.
Then, without any warning, Lehto came over the hill at Turn 11 and encountered a collection of GT2 cars that had just spun. With nowhere to go and blinded by the crest of the hill, Lehto crashed nose to nose with a Porsche GT2 car. With severe damage done to the No. 1 Audi R8, the call was made to bring the car into the garage for repairs.
Approximately 35 minutes later, the car emerged from the garage with Marco Werner behind the wheel. Most parts in the front of the car had to be replaced but the experienced crew of Team ADT Champion Racing performed the task professionally, timely, and ultimately produced a perfect racecar for Werner.
While the No. 1 Audi was in the garage, the No. 2 sister car driven by Pirro was quietly working its way through the field to take the lead 45 minutes into the race.
Pirro held the lead until his driver change at exactly 1:00 pm, one hour after the start of the race. Biela assumed control of the No. 2 Audi R8 and charged ahead. A short time later (1:21 pm) Biela made contact with the Maserati thus earning the No. 2 a stop and go penalty. When Biela emerged from the pits, he did so in third position, which would ultimately be finishing position for the No. 2 car. Werner, working his way through traffic and then five minutes of rain, went from 21st position when he emerged from the pits to 18th position.
Team ADT Champion Racing will pack up the gear and the team and head to La Sarthe France to prepare for the 73rd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The official Test day is Sunday, June 5th and the race will commence Saturday, June 18th. SPEED Channel will again provide coverage of the race.
TEAM ADT CHAMPION RACING AUDI R8 #1
JJ Lehto (Fin). Age: 39. Born: Espoo, Finland. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:
“It was one of those days that we have not yet experienced at Champion Racing, especially in my time with them since 2003. It was just one of those racing situations today. It happened so quickly I really didn’t know it happened. I had no visibility and nowhere to go. Fortunately they were able to fix the car and we got back on the track and scored some points. And unfortunately today was very expensive, and that is never good.”
Marco Werner (D). Age: 38. Born: Dortmund, Germany. Lives: Ermatingen, Switzerland:
“Today was not our day. There was so much trouble. First JJ’s accident and then I went off on the last lap because of the rain. It was difficult to be in the rain on slicks. The team did a great job getting us back in the race, which is important for us for the Championship. The team did an incredible job in fixing the car and giving it to me in excellent condition. I had no problems with it.”
TEAM ADT CHAMPION RACING AUDI R8 #2
Frank Biela (D). Age: 40. Born: Neuss, Germany. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:
“I’m happy that we finished third. It was quite difficult, especially at the end when it started to rain and the track got much cooler. Unfortunately I had a spin and I had some contact but third place is still good.”
Emanuele Pirro (It). Age: 43. Born: Rome, Italy. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:
“It was a very eventful race. Before the start, it wasn’t our greatest position but when I left the car, things were looking pretty good. The car was running well and we were in first position and I was quite optimistic. But then there was some bad luck with the stop and go penalty, and some spins, and the rain. But at the end of the day we have to be happy with third place. Today’s result was quite important to us for the Driver Championship.”
Brad Kettler (Technical Director): “It was a very action-filled race. JJ had a huge incident he couldn’t avoid but the guys as usual did a fantastic job fixing it. The car did its fastest lap after the repair and we just pressed on. We knew we (No. 1 Audi) had to finish 70% of the race to score points and stay in the Championship and that’s exactly what we did. We ended up finishing 84% of the race.”
DRIVERS CLASS TEAM DIFF.
Margin of victory: 26.328 seconds
Time of race: 2:46:05.925
For more information on Audi motorsports visit www.audiusa.com. For more information on Champion Racing, visit www.championracing.net.