Lehto, Werner win Petit

JJ Lehto and Marco Werner survived a grueling sports car endurance race to win the ALMS Petit Le Mans race on Saturday at Road Atlanta

Lehto, Werner win Petit

The drivers of the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 helped Audi clinch its fifth consecutive manufacturer's championship and earned a first team title for Champion. The team also had a sweep of the top two as Johnny Herbert and Pierre Kaffer finished second in another Champion Audi.

The first hours of the 1,000-mile contest featured a hot contest involving five Prototypes with the Dyson Racing Lola B01/60-AER of James Weaver leading much of the early going after starting on the pole.

The two Champion Audis mixed it up with the Creation Autosportif DBA-Zytek of Nicolas Minassian and Jamie Campbell-Walter and the two Dyson Lolas, the other driven by Chris Dyson and Jan Lammers. Also running strongly in the early going was the Intersport Racing Lola B01/60-Judd of Jon Field, Duncan Dayton and Mike Durand.

But one by one, several of the contenders encountered problems, including the Weaver car, which became stuck in fifth gear and then spent time behind the wall for repairs. The Creation machine retired with engine failure, and the Dyson-Lammers car fell several laps behind.

That left the race for the overall win to the two Audis, and the cars traded the lead several times before the Herbert-Kaffer car slid off course and was briefly stuck in a gravel trap in Turn 10 with just under two hours left.

"It was a great race for us," said Werner. "We had a lot more competition than the other races. We had a very strong start in the beginning. It was very fun, the car was very good for me in traffic which I think was the secret to winning. We had that little bit of trouble with the louver in the front which affects the downforce. One big moment with Jan Lammers pushing me into the grass, but it was ok cause it was good competition, a good fight. It was no problem."

Lehto added: "We planned to have the weak louvers because the harder they are the more rubber they catch. When they break it changed the dynamic slightly. We planned on them breaking, but not so early. We started the set-up with a little bit of oversteer so it could end up with just a bit of oversteer. But we had very long and hard stints so it shows the Audi held up. We had a lot of close calls and close competition. That is how it should be."

Popular Corvette Racing drivers Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell became champions again, clinching the GTS class driving title for the second straight year by finishing second in the GTS class. Driving championship battles in both the LMP2 and GT classes remained alive as the series heads to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, for the season finale on October 14-16.

shares
comments
Qual 2: Minassian on pole
Previous article

Qual 2: Minassian on pole

Next article

Bobbi quickest in Dubai

Bobbi quickest in Dubai
Load comments
The ex-IndyCar racer in "uncharted territory" of British GT team ownership Plus

The ex-IndyCar racer in "uncharted territory" of British GT team ownership

This weekend’s British GT finale will be a tense title showdown for some but, for those not in the championship fight, it’s a chance to end a challenging year on a high. In the latter camp is Paddock Motorsport's team owner Martin Plowman, whose 2021 season has been a rollercoaster ride of non-stop learning

National
Oct 15, 2021
The unpopular BMW stalwart built for the big occasion Plus

The unpopular BMW stalwart built for the big occasion

It has won most of the big prizes in endurance racing across its six years in service, but the BMW M6 GT3's key weaknesses meant only a devoted few teams persisted with running it. As it prepares to bow out at season's end, the teams and drivers involved in its story share the secrets of an unpopular winner

GT
Oct 7, 2021
The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever Plus

The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever

Had FIA GT boss Stephane Ratel had his way, the Maserati MC12 would never have been allowed to set foot in his series. It duly proved the class of the field that most had expected, but the Balance of Performance that its superiority spawned would keep GT1 battles tight and bring long-term benefits that sportscar racing enjoys today

GT
Sep 21, 2021
Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage Plus

Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage

The E-Type may be the most famous of all road-going Jaguars, but that didn't always translate into success on the track. After winning on its competition debut in 1961, motorsport success seemed an inevitability, but things didn’t turn out to be quite that straightforward

GT
Aug 6, 2021
Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60 Plus

Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60

It’s 60 years since the Jaguar E-type arrived and caused a sensation. As our resident racer Ben Anderson discovered when he got behind the wheel of two special racing versions at Brands Hatch, the thrill of driving them hasn't diminished over time

GT
Jul 31, 2021
The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat Plus

The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat

It's a significant achievement to win one 24-hour race in a year, let alone two, and with different manufacturers, but that's exactly what ROWE Racing did in 2020 at the Nurburgring and Spa. This weekend's German classic offers the DTM newcomer a chance of another unique double to add to its growing collection of accolades

GT
Jun 3, 2021
The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story Plus

The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story

The manufacturers were unconvinced – and even hostile – when Stephane Ratel launched GT3 in 2006. Now, 15 years on from its debut, they’ve sold more than 2000 cars and counting, but its continued expansion puts the increasingly globalised category at risk of losing its roots

GT
May 25, 2021
The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT Plus

The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT

With the Silver pairings that dominated 2020 now banned, Mercedes pair Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie could be in the box seat after winning last year's Pro-Am crown. But a swarm of Lamborghinis, with the defending outright champion among them, will ensure they face tough opposition

GT
May 21, 2021