18 August 2003
Biela and Werner win Toronto GP of Mosport.
German drivers Frank Biela and Marco Werner survived an on-track collision and attrition to win Sunday's American Le Mans Series Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport sports car race at Mosport International Raceway.
The drivers of the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8 scored their third overall win in five ALMS races this year and extended their lead in the series point standings. The car was damaged during Biela's stint behind the wheel when the rear was contacted by another car during a caution period. The car was not significantly slowed and the team was able to effect repairs on the next pit stop.
''It definitely was not easy,'' said Biela. ''There were many other cars that were fast and this is a difficult track. My teammate (Werner) did a brilliant job and brought the car home. I'm very pleased to have him with me.''
Many challengers fell by the wayside, including the polesitting Dyson Racing Lola EX257-MG of James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger, which led early but lost laps due to an alternator problem. Another early leader, the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 of JJ Lehto and Johnny Herbert, was damaged in a collision with a lapped car while Herbert was battling Werner for the lead late in the two-hour, 45-minute race.
Andy Wallace and Chris Dyson finished second, two laps down, and won the LMP 675 class in the second Dyson Racing Lola-MG, while Scott Maxwell and Gunnar Jeannette finished third overall and second in the LMP 900 class in a Panoz LMP01 for JML Team Panoz. The Wallace-Dyson car had been severely damaged in a crash during the morning warm-up session but the team effected repairs in time to start the race.
''They don't ask you how, just how much,'' said Dyson of his team. ''The team did a phenomenal job and no one let the morning incident get them down. They just pitched in and got the job done.''
The Team Bucknum Racing Pilbeam MP91 of Jeff Bucknum, Bryan Willman and Chris McMurry finished second in the class for smaller Prototypes, followed by the Weaver-Leitzinger machine.
Local hero Ron Fellows and co-driver Johnny O'Connell won the GTS class in a Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, with O'Connell, driving the final stint, holding off the Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello of Peter Kox and Tomas Enge over the last three laps and finishing a car length ahead for the class win. The team had gone from third to first during a sequence of pit stops under a full-course caution period.
''Hats off to the crew because we won that race in the pits,'' said Fellows. ''We were close, very equal with the Ferrari, but traffic seemed to be in their favour. We couldn't catch a break in traffic. But track position wins the race, and the crew gave us that on the final pit stop. My buddy (O'Connell) was doing his job. Winning at your home track seems to be tough, and this one is fantastic.''
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