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  Archive of Audi R8 Race Reports/News/Photos 2001  

Audi R8  2001  -  2002  -  2003  -  2004  -  2005  -  2006

Champion Racing -  ALMS Portland
  Wallace/Herbert Shine at Portland  
  Third place finish nets second ALMS podium for Champion  

(Portland Int'l Raceway, 5 August) A post-qualifying engine change made all the difference at Portland, giving Andy Wallace and Johnny Herbert the power they needed to take the fight to the competition. And that they did brilliantly, netting Champion Racing its second ALMS podium finish with a fine third place finish. Champion's privateer Audi R8 had languished during practice and qualifying, managing no better than fifth-fastest in all sessions, running the same motor the R8 was delivered with in February. The Portland race day warmup saw both Champion drivers quite happy with the expected power from the fresh 3.6-liter twin-turbo.

As Andy Wallace had qualified the car at the most recent race at Sears Point, Johnny Herbert - who joked afterwards that "Andy had finally stepped aside and let ME have a go at it"- qualified the car and thus started the 2hr45min race and drove a double-stint. Herbert quickly put his R8 right in the thick of things up front, and challenged strongly as the usually-perfect Audi factory team cars both faltered with grip and gearbox problems.

Herbert pitted from second place about 45minutes from the end, handing over to Wallace, who would carry on to the finish. Unfortunately, a rare pitlane penalty (two persons assisting in driver change) cost a 20second hold in the pits before Wallace was allowed to leave the pits, and Wallace had his work cut out for him. As Wallace fought with the second Panoz for fourth, the leading Audi pitted with failing gearbox electricals, going two laps down and out of contention. Shortly after, the second Panoz had a big spin entering the Festival Curves, putting itself out of contention and handing Wallace third place, which he maintained while charging the lead Panoz-Audi duo hard right up till the checkers.

Portland marks a long-awaited return to the Podium for the Champion R8 team, almost five months after their first Podium finish (3rd) at the Sebring 12 Hours in March. The ALMS circus now heads East and North across the border, to Mosport for Round Five.

  Portland Top Three Finishers:

1. David Brabham, Australia; Jan Magnussen, Denmark; Panoz LMP-1

2. Frank Biela, Germany; Emanuele Pirro, Italy; Audi R8

3. Johnny Herbert, England; Andy Wallace, England; Audi R8
  Herbert and Wallace enjoy Champion's second ALMS podium Cooling down after a hot race Herbert and Wallace discuss setup Quick but costly final stop  
        The crew anxiously watches the TV monitors as the race winds down  
      Dave Maraj explains racing...    
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