Practice: Cadillac quickest

A few days after word leaked that it would discontinue its racing program at the end of 2002, Cadillac was on top of the timesheets on Friday as practice began for Sunday's American Le Mans Series race at Mosport

Practice: Cadillac quickest

JJ Lehto, driving a Cadillac Northstar LMP 02, turned a lap of 1m11.446s on the 2.459-mile raceway, the fastest lap recorded in a scheduled two-hour session that was hampered by rain. Lehto's time was set early in the session when rain had just started to dampen the track and before a passing thunderstorm brought practice to a halt.

"Not bad," said Lehto. "The car has improved greatly since I last drove it, and that was in June at Le Mans. Here we need more downforce and they have developed a new aerodynamic kit and the car was pretty good to drive.

"I wasn't surprised because we tested here at Mosport for two days last week and were faster then," he said. "There was just too much traffic today and I couldn't get a clear lap. If things stay the same on Sunday, we should be in great shape."

The rainy conditions proved to be costly to the Panoz Motor Sports team as Jan Magnussen crashed one of the LMP-1s at Turn 9 near the end of the session. The car, which had set the second-fastest time of the day at 1m12.721s, suffered extensive rear-end damage when the Dane hit the tyre barrier.

Third-fastest was the Audi R8 of Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen at 1m13.363s, followed by the Champion Racing Audi R8 of Johnny Herbert and Stefan Johansson at 1m13.487s. The second Panoz of Bill Auberlen and Bryan Herta was fifth on 1m13.599s.

The Dyson Racing team debuted its new Lola EX257-AER MG machine and set the fastest time in the LMP 675 class for smaller Prototypes. With James Weaver at the wheel, the car turned a lap of 1m15.306s. Weaver will co-drive with Butch Leitzinger and Chris Dyson.

Production-based GTS and GT cars practiced before the track became totally wet, and Ron Fellows led with a lap of 1m16.819s, approaching his own record of 1m16.675s that was set two years ago. The Chevrolet Corvette C5R driver will be going for his seventh consecutive GTS class pole in Saturday's qualifying. He and co-driver Johnny O'Connell have been class winners in four races this season.

In the GT class, the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS driven by Lucas Luhr set the fastest time of the day with a lap of 1m21.539s. Luhr and co-driver Sascha Maassen have won four of the six ALMS races this season.

JJ Lehto/Max Angelelli, Cadillac Northstar LMP 02 (LMP 900) 1m11.448s
Jan Magnussen/David Brabham, Panoz LMP-1 (LMP 900) 1m12.720s
Rinaldo Capello/Tom Kristensen, Audi R8 (LMP 900) 1m13.363s
Johnny Herbert/Stefan Johansson, Audi R8 (LMP 900) 1m13.487s
Bryan Herta/Bill Auberlen, Panoz LMP-1 (LMP 900) 1m13.598s
Frank Biela/Emanuele Pirro, Audi R8 (LMP 900) 1m14.364s
James Weaver/Chris Dyson/Butch Leitzinger Lola EX257-AER MG (LMP 675) 1m15.306s
Ron Fellows/Johnny O'Connell Chevrolet Corvette C5-R (GTS) 1m16.818s
Lucas Luhr/Sascha Maassen Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT) 1m21.540s

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