Frank Biela and Marco Werner drove the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8 to a dominating win in Sunday's American Le Mans Series Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres on the historic Trois-Rivieres street circuit in Canada.
The German duo scored their third American Le Mans Series win of the 2003 season in the LMP 900 class, leading all 169 laps that comprised the three-hour timed event on the 1.521-mile circuit.
''I have a lot of experience on street circuits, and you have to like street circuits in order to do well on them,'' said Werner, a veteran driver who is in his first full season on the series. Werner had qualified the Audi R8 on the pole in Saturday's qualifying and drove the first hour of the event.
''JJ Lehto pushed me really hard in my stint,'' he said. ''I could never get more than four or five seconds ahead of him. It was a difficult stint with the traffic, and there was a lot of pressure.''
Johnny Herbert and Lehto finished second in the ADT Champion Audi, falling out of contention due to pitting just before a full-course yellow and losing a lap. Although Herbert was able to pass Biela late in the race and make up the lap, he did not have time to challenge for the win.
''For 25 or 30 minutes I pushed hard to keep him [Herbert] behind me,'' said Biela. ''If there had been another yellow, he would have been right back behind me racing for the lead. I finally let him go with five minutes left because I thought it would be safe at that point.''
Olivier Beretta and David Saelens finished third in the JML Team Panoz Panoz LMP 01, the best finish of the season for the Panoz team.
Oliver Gavin and Kelly Collins won the GTS class in a Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, finishing fourth overall, with the other factory Corvette of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell finished fifth overall and second in class. The two cars battled back and forth for most of the race but Gavin was able to drive away from Fellows in the last 45 minutes of the race to record the second win of the season for he and Collins.
''Our cars were very equal, but I cooked the brakes in my first stint when I was following Tomas [Enge],'' said Gavin, referring to the GTS polesitter in the Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello. ''That allowed the other car to run ahead of us for a lot of the race, then we got back ahead and I think traffic cost Ron a lot of time in the end.''