JJ Lehto and Marco Werner won Sunday's American Le Mans Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, dominating the event after both contending Dyson Racing Lola machines experienced problems.
The win was the first as teammates for Lehto and Werner, co-drivers this season in the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8. They won by a lap over the Dyson Racing Lola EX257-AER/MG of Chris Dyson and Andy Wallace, which had led 35 laps early in the race.
Lehto gained the lead on an exchange of pit stops just over an hour into the timed event of two hours, 45 minutes, on the 2.25-mile road course. Werner had driven in the first hour but had been passed for the lead by Wallace. Wallace and Werner remained close as Wallace stayed in front for 35 laps.
Werner survived a collision with another car while trying to catch Wallace and the Audi sustained only minor damage.
After gaining the lead, Lehto built an advantage over Chris Dyson, who replaced Wallace during the only full-course caution of the event, and Dyson later spun and lost a lap while trying to make up the deficit. Lehto then maintained the advantage to the finish.
"Marco did a brilliant job is his stint and had a hard fight with Andy," said Lehto, who scored his 15th win in the ALMS. "It was very clever of the Dyson team to not go to Le Mans and instead stay here and prepare their cars. They will obviously be very competitive in the next few races."
"The car was good, as fast as the Audi," said Wallace. "But today was just not our day."
Finishing third overall and winning the GTS class was the Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C5-R of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell. The overall podium finish matched the existing ALMS record for the highest finish by a GTS car, the record set in Adelaide, Australia, in 2000.
The pole-sitting Dyson Lola of James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger, which had been expected to contend strongly for the win, lost an engine on the first lap of the race. The third position in the LMP1 class was taken by the Intersport Racing Lola B160-Judd of Jon Field and Duncan Dayton.
[Pic: ALMS/Rick Dole]