Practice: Champion edges Dyson

JJ Lehto set the fastest time for Champion Racing on the first day of practice for the Petit Le Mans ALMS race at Road Atlanta yesterday (Thursday), although the private Audi R8 was pushed hard by the LMP675 class Dyson Racing Lola of James Weaver, Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace

Practice: Champion edges Dyson

The Finnish driver, who is sharing Champion's car with Johnny Herbert and Stefan Johansson, set his fastest time in the day's first practice session. Herbert and Lehto won an ALMS race held at Road Atlanta, although neither has triumphed in the Petit Le Mans.

The Dyson Racing Lola was second quickest in first practice, but got faster as the day went on, setting the quickest time in the afternoon session, before going even quicker in the final night practice.

Third quickest overall (and second in the LMP900 class) was the Joest Racing Audi R8 of Frank Biela and Marco Werner. The championship-leading duo have yet to approach the pace matched by Champion's customer Audi, but a solid points haul is all that is required to clinch the title.

The epic Chevrolet/Ferrari battle continued unabated in the GTS class, with the Corvette C5-R of Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim leading the way. The Veloqx Prodrive Ferrari of Peter Kox, Tomas Enge and Alain Menu was second fastest, but lost a chunk of track time when Enge crashed heavily in the first practice session.

"After the top of the hill at 12, I started to feel loose," said Enge. "It was a puncture in the left-front tyre. I slid high-speed off to the left. I fought it all the way to the wall to get it back under control - braking, throttle and steering. Luckily I didn't flip like the Viper two years ago."

Jorg Bergmeister, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas were fastest in the GT class in their Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3, ahead of Petersen Racing's similar machine, piloted by Johnny Mowlem, Michael Petersen and Craig Stanton.

Herbert/Lehto/Johansson Audi R8 LMP900 1m12.393s
Weaver/Leitzinger/Wallace Lola EX257 LMP675 1m12.459s
Biela/Werner Audi R8 LMP900 1m12.729s
Beretta/Saelens/Papis Panoz LMP01 LMP900 1m14.263s
Field/Dayton/Conner Lola EX257 LMP675 1m14.692s
Dyson/Block/de Radigues Lola EX257 1m14.837s

Gavin/Collins/Pilgrim Chevrolet Corvette C5-R 1m19.206s
Kox/Enge/Menu Ferrari 550 Maranello 1m19.607s
Fellows/O'Connell/Freon Chevrolet Corvette C5-R 1m19.794s
Magnussen/Brabham/Davidson Ferrari 550 Maranello 1m20.026s

Bernhard/Bergmeister/Dumas Porsche 911 GT3 RS 1m23.378s
Petersen/Stanton/Mowlem Porsche 911 GT3 RS 1m23.888s
Kelleners/Lazzaro Ferrari 360 Modena 1m24.013s

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Wallace fastest in Road Atlanta testing
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