LE MANS, France. (June 18, 2005) - Team ADT Champion Racing (Pompano Beach, FL) currently leads the pack of endurance sports car racers around the 8.625-mile circuit de la Sarthe as the drivers and teams have just now completed one third of the grueling 24 hour session.
In number one position, just two minutes ahead of the sister car, is the No. 3 Audi R8 driven by JJ Lehto (Finland), Marco Werner (Germany) and Tom Kristensen (Denmark). The No. 3 car took the lead when the starting driver of the No. 2 car (Emanuele Pirro) encountered some trouble during the first full course caution. Pirro was just completing his fourth stint (over three hours in the car) when the incident occurred.
"The car was working extremely well," said Pirro. "The race was turning in a good way for us and then at the re-start, when I got the green the brakes and the tires were too cold. I slipped off a little at Arnage and I hit the barrier. I was trying hard and I did a good job. Not one single mistake. And then behind the pace car I do this. This is very hard for me to accept. I hope this does not cost us the race because it will be hard for me."
Only cosmetic repair was needed (nose box, splitter and front nose), as the damage was minor.
Co-drivers Allan McNish (Scotland) and veteran Audi R8 driver and Le Mans competitor Frank Biela have been charging hard ever since keeping the gap between the two R8s just over two minutes.
Temperatures here in Le Sarthe, France have been hovering in the high 80 degree mark making it tough for the drivers, teams and cars. Tomorrow is forecasted to be above 90 degrees.
TEAM ADT CHAMPION RACING AUDI R8 #3
Tom Kristensen (Den). Age: 37. Born: Hobro, Denmark. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:
"We were really relaxed before the race. We knew we had a strong car and we were ready to go. To be in the front this early is a big bonus and obviously now gives us more pressure. The car felt fine when I drove. JJ drove calm, cool and collected. Marco was very efficient. I'm very happy with the margin we have and of course to be in the lead."
Brad Kettler, Team Leader, Audi R8 No. 3:
"So far everything is running according to plan. The car is real good, real healthy. The drivers are taking good car of it. We just have to keep it up."
TEAM ADT CHAMPION RACING AUDI R8 #2
Frank Biela (D). Age: 40. Born: Neuss, Germany. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:
"At the moment everything is good. It's still a very long way to go but we cross our fingers and keep pushing. We got up front earlier than we expected. We were all hoping that we might have a good shot toward the end of the race, but the others started to have problems earlier than we expected and that's why it is like it is."
Louis Milone, Team Leader, Audi R8 No. 2 "The car is functioning perfectly mechanically. The cars are running one and two just as we expected. The drivers are happy and now it's up to them and the crew to do clean pit-stops. Let's bring them home one and two."
Dave Maraj, Owner, Team ADT Champion Racing "We are very fortunate to be in the position that we are in but we know it's a very long race. So hopefully we can maintain the positions we are in but again it's a long race."
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