|October 16, 2005
Audi Clinches ALMS Manufacturers' Title
For the sixth consecutive time, Audi has won all three titles in the top class of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). By finishing second in a thrilling finale at Laguna Seca (California), Audi clinched the LM P1 Manufacturers' title, while Audi's American customer Team ADT Champion Racing took the Teams' Championship. Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro had already secured the Drivers' title.
The two Audi "factory” drivers finished the race at Laguna Seca in second position with their Audi R8 after four thrilling hours. Last year's champions, JJ Lehto and Marco Werner, came home fourth and thus also in front of the new "factory” Porsche. While Lehto had to stop for fuel a few minutes before the end of the race losing third position, Emanuele Pirro was able to fully take advantage of Audi's FSI technology in the closing stages: The Italian saved enough fuel to avoid another pit-stop. Pirro crossed the finish-line in second position with the last fuel drops in the tank.
Especially in the first half of the race, the spectators at Laguna Seca watched a thrilling race with positions swapping among the fastest six prototypes with Biela/Pirro even leading at one stage. A total of five caution periods kept the leaders together before the Zytek prototype – allowed by the regulations to run with 150 kilograms less weight – was able to pull away from the field and finally take the victory in front of the Biela/Pirro Audi R8.
Quotes after the race at Laguna Seca
Frank Biela (Team ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 #2): "I’m very happy. The race was a lot of fun. Lap times were much closer than in qualifying. Emanuele (Pirro) was fast despite having to save fuel which avoided us having to take an additional pit-stop at the end.”
Emanuele Pirro (Team ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 #2): "This was an exciting race with many overtaking opportunities and a nice way to finish a great season for us. Finishing second was the maximum we could achieve. The Zytek was too fast, but we kept the two Dyson Lolas and our team-mates behind us.”
JJ Lehto (Team ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 #1): "After going into the sand, the car felt a little strange, but it was still fast. It would have been easy for me to overtake Andy (Wallace), but I was told to save fuel. So I was cruising for almost an hour. When the strategy was changed and we had to come in for fuel once more, it was too late to attack. It was simply not our day.”
Marco Werner (Team ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 #1): "At the start things went well. I was able to move up to second position staying in touch with the Zytek. Unfortunately we did not make it to the end with the fuel. I think we changed drivers too early. If I could have stayed out longer, maybe we could have avoided the last stop. This race mirrored our season.”
Dave Maraj (Team Owner Team ADT Champion Racing): "Our drivers really did a great job today. Second place is a good result. It was a good end to a great season for us. I’m proud we were also able to give Audi the Teams' and Manufacturers' Championships. Congratulations to everybody who helped us achieve this.”
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "This was sports car racing at its very best. We saw tight battles in all classes. We finished second and were able to clinch the Manufacturers' Championship. Unfortunately JJ and Marco narrowly missed out on finishing runner-ups in the Drivers' Championship. But we can still be happy with this result.”