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Grand Prix shows fresh face

Many changes will greet fans at this weekend's American Le Mans Series race, the Portland Grand Prix, which features world-class sports car racing.

The main ALMS race takes place 6 p.m. Saturday at Portland International Raceway; the race will be shown on KOIN (6) at noon Sunday.

Audi introduced its new diesel-powered R10 TDI in the series last weekend, and Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela won the PI category and the overall title at the Utah Grand Prix. The two also combined for victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the diesel-powered Audi R10, which creates much more torque than its R8 predecessor.

Audi's Rinaldo Capello and Allan McNish lead P1.

Driving first-year team Penske Racing's Porsche RS Spyder, the P2 duo of Lucas Lohr and Sascha Maassen placed second to the Audi in the overall race at Utah. Another Penske duo, Clint Field and Liz Halliday, lead the P2 category.

Corvette had been dominating the GT1 category with 12 consecutive victories, including eight by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta. But the two missed the July 1 Lime Rock race in Lakeville, Conn., and Aston Martin Racing captured its second consecutive win at Utah with Tomas Enge and Darren Turner, and its sister car with drivers Andrea Pizcini and Stephane Sarrazin finished second.

Beretta and Gavin still top the drivers' standings, however.

Corvette's Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell, and then their teammates, had been the kings of the GT1 class, but the ALMS required more weight and less power in the American-built cars this year.

'When you're carrying around 200 extra pounds and they also have our motor restricted, that makes it difficult,' Fellows says.

Ferrari captured its first ALMS win since 2004 at Utah with Jamie Melo and Mika Salo winning the GT2 class. Johannes van Overbeek, driving a Porsche 911, has the most GT2 points.

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