LAKEVILLE, CT. (July 5, 2004) - Smart strategy coupled with strong driving from JJ Lehto and Marco Werner proved to be the winning combination today as Team ADT Champion Racing earned first place on the podium at the inaugural New England Grand Prix in Lakeville, Connecticut.
On a very hot an balmy day, rain fell just a short three minutes into the race. While most teams entered the pits during a full course caution to put on rain tires, the #38 Audi R8 driven by JJ Lehto "weathered the storm", stayed on the course, thus taking the lead from pole setter James Weaver from Dyson Racing.
"Our strategy really paid off for us today," commented Brad Kettler, Technical Director/Team ADT Champion Racing. "We made the right call to stay on our slick tires hoping the rain would stop. This track dries very quickly and once the rain cloud passed, the track dried up and JJ was able to keep his lead."
JJ Lehto lead for most of the first hour of the race until lap 47 when Lehto came in for a pit stop and driver change handing over the cockpit to teammate Marco Werner. Pole setter Weaver was back in the lead for 25 minutes until Weaver pitted and teammate Butch Leitzinger jumped into the car thus allowing Werner to take back the lead.
After 2 hours and 23 minutes of battling traffic and weather elements, the second place car (#16, Dyson Racing) had closed the gap to 6.946 seconds behind Werner. Werner found himself in an unusual predicament being held up by the "sister" Dyson car. Ultimately a full course caution came out just 16 minutes from the end forcing the slower Dyson car to the back of the pack. The yellow flag lasted nine minutes and the overall leader, Marco Werner, prevailed and raced towards the checkered flag. The time between first and second place was a slim 1.429 seconds.
Next stop for Team ADT Champion Racing and the American Le Mans Series is Infineon Raceway, July 16-18.
JJ Lehto (Finland): "It's nice to win in a new place and especially at the home track of our competitors, the Dyson team. We knew they were going to be really strong here. It was a big battle all the way to the end and Marco had a lot of pressure but he handled it well. He held the others cars back and we won the race. That's the most important thing."
Marco Werner (Germany): "First let me say thank you to the team and to my teammate JJ. He did a great job in the beginning. It was key that he stayed out on the slick tires during the rain. Also, the strategy for the pit stops was excellent. That's why we won the race. It was an excellent result for us today."
Brad Kettler (Technical Director): "Today was very exciting for us. I'm really, really proud of JJ and Marco. Marco did an outstanding job on old tires and that gave us the cushion we needed. Towards the end of the race, Butch Leitzinger (Dyson Racing) was really, really fast. I knew it would be a close finish-but not that close!"
Today's result marks the second win of the season for Team ADT Champion Racing.
1) J. Lehto/M. Werner ADT Champion Racing 165 laps
2) J. Weaver/B. Leitzinger Dyson Racing 1.429 sec
3) C. Dyson/A. Wallace Dyson Racing + 2 laps
4) O. Gavin/O. Beretta Corvette Racing + 5 laps
5) R. Fellows/J. O'Connell Corvette Racing 5 laps +3.627 sec
For more information on Champion Racing, please visit www.championracing.net. For more information on Audi's motorsport program, please visit www.audiusa.com.