Fort Worth, Texas, Audi started into the second half of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) with an unchallenged victory at the Texas Motor Speedway. The two Audi R8's were leading the race from start to finish lapping all competitors at least...
Fort Worth, Texas, Audi started into the second half of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) with an unchallenged victory at the Texas Motor Speedway. The two Audi R8's were leading the race from start to finish lapping all competitors at least one time. Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello were setting the pace for most of the two hour and forty-five minute distance, but had to settle for second behind their teammates Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro when the communication between the pits and Capello's R8 broke down. While Biela refuelled during the last caution period, Capello had to come in for a late splash-and-dash ten minutes before the end of the race handing victory to Biela and Pirro.
With the third one - two of the season, Audi took the lead in the manufacturers championship of the American Le Mans Series and all four Audi pilots further closed the gap to the drivers championship.
Quotes after the race: Frank Biela (#78): "This was a very good and a very important weekend for us. Both R8's were very close together all the time. We were able to put pressure on the Allan and Dindo, which was not always the case in the last races. We lost some time during the first two stints. Then came another caution period which was the key to success because I pitted for fuel immediately. The plan worked perfect. You have to take your chances."
Emanuele Pirro (#78): "First of all I want to thank the whole crew which has done a great job. Today we were very lucky. We won the race because our teammates had problems with their radio. But this is part of the sport and you have to accept it. Therefore I am happy about the victory. The car was much better with full fuel tanks. With less fuel it started to oversteer again on the entrance of the corners."
Rinaldo Capello (#77): "I am really destroyed. The car was perfect, I had no problems at all, just that the radio stopped working the lap before the last caution period. I got the message that I was five seconds ahead of Frank. When I saw the yellow flags I called the pits but got no answer. Unfortunately it is the only track where we can't use pit boards for the communication. So it was really bad luck."
Allan McNish (#77): "I am very happy to have an Audi one - two again. We worked very hard, Dindo did an excellent stint. It is just very unfortunate that the race was decided due to a radio problem more than racing itself. The car was very good to drive, very comfortable. I was pushing very hard at the beginning and could open a big gap before the yellows came out."
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport: "The race went the way we expected, after the practice sessions and qualifying. All the pit stops went perfectly. The decision was made when Dindo's radio didn't work anymore, we couldn't call him in so he had to stop for a splash and go in the closing laps under green. He lost the lead. The race showed that our cars perform very much the same, today a little bit of luck decided the winner."
Reinhold Joest, Team Director Audi Sport North America: "The most important accomplishment today was the double victory for Audi. The fact that Frank and Emanuele won today makes the competition in our team very interesting again. The problem with the radio was just bad luck. That is life and motorsport. A big compliment to all of the four drivers and our pit crew. Everyone did a perfect job. <pre>"
Texas Motor Speedway Results: 1. Biela/Pirro (Audi R8) 127 laps 2. Capello/McNish (Audi R8) +12.673 3. Brabham/Magnussen (Panoz) - 1 lap 4. Lehto/Müller (BMW) - 3 laps 5. Auberlen/Gounon (BMW) - 3 laps 6. Katoh/O'Connell (Panoz) - 4 laps 7. Johansson/Smith (Reynard) - 5 laps 8. Fellows/Pilgrim (Corvette) - 11 laps 9. Field/Sutherland (Lola) - 12 laps 10. Beretta/Wendlinger (Chrysler) - 14 laps