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  Archive of Audi R8 Race Reports/News/Photos 2002  

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

  ALMS Trois-Rivieres  

Race day News and Photos


Trois-Rivieres, Quebec (4 August) --

Despite one of Johnny Herbert's most brilliant and memorable American Le Mans Series drives, the ADT/Champion Audi team was only able to take third place in the three-hour Le Grand Prix du Trois-Rivieres in Canada, making for an all-Audi podium. The race was won from twentieth starting position by Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello in the #2 Joest Audi. Coming second were Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela in the pole-sitting #1 Joest entry.

While Johnny Herbert had put the ADT and Michelin-sponsored Champion Racing R8 in the second starting spot for the debut ALMS race at this Canadian circuit, that advantage didn't last beyond Turn One in the race. Herbert went wide as the field approached the first turn, and the third-starting Panoz of Bryan Herta was tucked up so close to pole-sitter Pirro that he was forced to lock up his brakes, but despite that the two made contact just prior to the turn-in, causing a cloud of tire smoke from the Panoz.

Herbert dove in behind Herta as the leaders rounded the turn, but was struck from behind by the KnightHawk MG, which had been qualified by Chad Block and started by car owner Steve Knight. Knight's MG ran up under Herbert's right-rear, lifting the car momentarily off the ground and causing it to spin, while simultaneously damaging the MG's left-front suspension beyond continuing. Herbert was able to get restarted, and pitted for new rear bodywork.

Once Herbert was finally underway again, he made rapid progress back up through the field, despite the tight confines of the Trois-Rivieres street course, and he even led a lap just prior to the first of the team's two pit stops. At the first stop, Herbert stayed in but took fuel and four new Michelin tires. In what Champion Racing owner, Dave Maraj, described as "one of the best stints I have ever seen", Herbert then proceeded to tear right back to the front during his second stint. "Johnny was just brilliant today" said Maraj.

However, much of Herbert's effort was negated when, in a late-race caution period, there was miscommunication between IMSA Race Control, the Champion pit crew and Herbert himself. This resulted in Herbert (and several other cars) bypassing the pits just after it had opened, causing a late pit stop and loss of track position for the ADT/Champion Audi. Herbert turned over to Stefan Johansson, who rejoined in third place with fresh tires and a full load of fuel.

Due to further miscommunication with the team, Johansson then jumped the restart, incurring a twenty-second penalty for passing under yellow, and putting the Champion R8 two laps down to the leading Joest Audi. With just forty-five minutes remaining in the race and laps down to the leaders, Champion's bid for victory in Quebec was over for the day, and Johansson persevered for third place, making for yet another Audi sweep of the LMP-900 podium.

Champion's third-place finish also earned the team the IMSA Cup for Privateers, as highest finishing entrant in the LMP-900 class.

The ALMS circus moves next to its second Canadian round, at Mosport Park, in two weeks time.

  Results from the ALMS Grand Prix du Trois-Rivieres:

1 - Tom Kristensen, Rinaldo Capello; Audi R8 (LMP 900), 166 laps

2 - Emanuele Pirro, Frank Biela; Audi R8 (LMP 900), 166

3 - Johnny Herbert, Stefan Johansson; Audi R8 (LMP 900), 165

LMP-900 Drivers Points after Trois-Rivieres:

1 Tom Kristensen, 139

2 Rinaldo Capello, 137

3 Frank Biela, 123

4 Emanuele Pirro, 122

5 Johnny Herbert, 120

LMP-900 Teams Points after Trois-Rivieres:

1 Audi Sport North America, 138

2 Panoz Motor Sports, 117

3 Champion Racing, 112

4 Dyson Racing Team, 81

5 Intersport, 70
Stefan Johansson under the Arch during morning warmup
Johnny Herbert got very, very close to the wall during morning warmup...
Pre-Race ceremonies on the Trois-Rivieres grid
The ALMS field pulls away for the formation lap
The green flag waves at Trois-Rivieres
Herbert follows Herta into Turn One, but is struck from behind by the KnightHawk MG...
...contact by the MG spins Herbert's Audi...
...parts from both cars fly as Herbert spins...
...running up under Herbert's left-rear has broken the MG's left-front suspension, but Herbert is able to get his damaged R8 underway and to the pits for a new tail
Just minutes after Herbert returns to the fray with new rear bodywork, a Porsche makes contact with the passing Audi...
Herbert works traffic at the very bumpy exit of Turn One
Fuel and fresh Michelins for Herbert at first pit stops
Johnny Herbert's second stint was brilliant, his Audi leading the race briefly prior to second pit stops
Team Manager Mike Peters and Johnny Herbert mirror the situation after the final pit stop
Capello's leading R8 follows Johansson minutes before the checkered flag
Michael Galati chats with Herbert and Johansson at race's end
Good spirits on the Podium after an extremely disappointing race
Kettler and Johansson discuss the race...
Marcus Haselgrove hoardes the team's Trois-Rivieres hardware
In an example of racing sportsmanship, Champion's composite experts repair the tub of the KnightHawk MG, which would otherwise have missed the next race at Mosport
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