July 31, 2005
Source: Champion Racking
PORTLAND, OR. (July 30, 2005) – Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro, winners of the Portland International Grand Prix battled heat, traffic, and penalties to claim their second consecutive victory in the American Le Mans Series. Today’s hard fought win now puts the drivers of the No. 2 Audi R8 in the lead for the Championship. Unfortunately the opposite occurred for their sister car, the No. 1 Audi R8 piloted by JJ Lehto and Marco Werner. An unavoidable accident only one hour into the 2:45 minute race retired the No. 1 Audi early.
The action started early for both cars when contact was made between Biela and Werner as they were coming down the front straight heading into Turn 1. Werner who was fighting to keep his second place position found himself blocked by traffic and as Werner veered right to go around the slower GT1 car, he made side to side contact with Biela in the No. 2 Audi causing some rear body parts to come off Biela’s car.
Ten minutes later, Werner pitted and did a driver change with his teammate JJ Lehto. While the car was in the pits, the team replaced a left rear broken exhaust pipe and the rear wing. The car was back in tact, Lehto was in the cockpit, and the racing resumed. A short ten minutes later, something underneath the carriage broke causing the entire rear wing of the car to fly off sending Lehto and the car into a viscous spin and into the wall in the back straight heading into Turn 10. Post analysis of the wreck showed the rear end was still latched and speculation remains that something underneath was weakened during the earlier incident with Werner and caused some unknown structural failure. Lehto and Werner were finished for the day.
The action continued on the track when Emanuele Pirro replaced Biela and continued the charge to the front. During one of Pirro’s pit stops for fuel, a crewmember was over the wall too early thus causing a twenty-second penalty to be issued to the No. 2 car. This moved Pirro into third position but not for long. He chased down the first Dyson car in front of him, passed him and was on the charge for the lead Dyson car. With two laps to go, James Weaver in the No. 16 Dyson car ran out of fuel and Pirro flew by him toward the white flag and ultimately the checkered flag. Pirro and Biela now have their second win on season.
The Road America 500, Round seven of the American Le Mans Series, is scheduled for August 19-21 on the 4.048-mile track located in Elkhart Lake, WI. Television coverage will be provided by SPEED Channel.
TEAM ADT CHAMPION RACING AUDI R8 #1
JJ Lehto (Fin). Age: 39. Born: Espoo, Finland. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:
“The accident was big. That’s why we can’t fix the car. There was damage all over the place, in the front, rear, and in the gearbox. Everything was so badly damaged we couldn’t fix the car and complete 70% of the race to get some points, which is unfortunate for us. Now we are behind but we haven’t really lost the Championship. There are still four more races and two of them give more points because they are longer so that may help us. It will be tough and we need to get it right from here on. We need to start winning races again.”
Marco Werner (D). Age: 38. Born: Dortmund, Germany. Lives: Ermatingen, Switzerland:
“I really don’t know what happened today. The car was quite good for me and I think once I had contact with Frank (Biela) I believe something happened more than with just the wing. It was obviously a harder impact than we thought and something broke loose underneath on causing JJ to spin. This is not a day I want to remember.”
TEAM ADT CHAMPION RACING AUDI R8 #2
Frank Biela (D). Age: 40. Born: Neuss, Germany. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:
“We did a great job this weekend. The car was prepared well, the crew guys found a great set-up for us, and we were really confident going into the race. I tried to take some risk as you have to do sometimes, but I also tried to keep the car on the road. For us it was a good race, a good weekend and very important for the Championship.”
Emanuele Pirro (It). Age: 43. Born: Rome, Italy. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:
“It’s a very good day for us. We had to work a little harder because our race engineer was not here this weekend. The race was very competitive. We played a great strategy. Frank gave me a lot of boost so I was really motivated. We didn’t have much luck early in the season and now we are on a good wave. We need to ride it for as long as we can.”
DRIVERS CLASS TEAM Difference
1) E.Pirro/F.Biela/ LMP1 ADT Champion Racing 137 laps
2) C.Dyson/A.Wallace LMP1 Dyson Racing 6.060
3) J.Weaver/B.Leitzinger LMP1 Dyson Racing 1 lap
4) C.Field/L.Halliday LMP2 Intersport Racing 5 laps
23) J.Lehto/M.Werner LMP1 ADT Champion Racing accident
For more information on Audi motorsports visit www.audiusa.com. For more information on Champion Racing, visit www.championracing.net.