Audi Mosport preview

Two Races Within One Week for Audi Auburn Hills, Mich., -- After the drama in Portland, where Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro battled fiercely to finish second, Audi Sport North America has no time to catch its breath. The team is already on its...

Two Races Within One Week for Audi

Auburn Hills, Mich., -- After the drama in Portland, where Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro battled fiercely to finish second, Audi Sport North America has no time to catch its breath. The team is already on its way to a double-header in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). On August 19, both Infineon Audi R8 sportscars will take on the hills and turns of Mosport, with the ALMS round in Mid-Ohio just one week later. The target is clear: After being beaten for the first time in 14 races, the Audi drivers want to strike back.

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich knows that this is not an easy task. "I am sure the Panoz team will also be strong at Mosport. Had they not experienced technical problems there last year, things would have been extremely tight for us," he said. However, the Head of Audi Sport remains confident. "We are familiar with the circuit, so the qualifying session should be enough to find a winning set-up for our cars." Team director Reinhold Joest agrees: "Last year we competed in wet and dry weather, so we are prepared for all situations."

The Audi drivers unanimously describe the 2.45-mile, 10-turn circuit north of Toronto as very quick. "This track features just one very narrow corner, however it has many other difficult bends where you can´t afford to make a mistake," says Frank Biela, who last year captured the pole position at Mosport, setting a new track record.

The Champion Team would like to challenge the Audi Sport North America squad for the pole position. At the last round in Portland, the Audi customer team achieved a partial success: Johnny Herbert secured his first podium finish in the ALMS in the 2000-spec R8 together with Andy Wallace. "With every mile we become more and more familiar with ourselves and the car," says Johnny Herbert. "So it´s great that we now compete two races back to back. In this way we hopefully can reach our target sooner - to beat the works cars."

The great unknown is the race just six days later at Mid-Ohio. None of the Audi drivers has competed on the circuit before. Only Rinaldo Capello will get a first impression during this weekend´s ChampCar event. The ALMS points´ leader will drive several demonstration laps: "I´ll try to take note of all the track´s peculiarities and pass them on to my teammates."

Reinhold Joest, who knows the 2.258 mile circuit from contesting several races there in the early nineties, expects a tough weekend. "The track layout is unique and is certainly more difficult than Sears Point or Portland. The twisty rollercoaster passages are particularly challenging," he says. Tom Kristensen, who has visited Mid-Ohio as a spectator, agrees: "It´s a typical American race track - extremely narrow with uphill and downhill sections."

Drivers and engineers face special challenges in Mid-Ohio. They have only one testing session and one free practice to optimally set-up the Infineon Audi R8 for the track. "For this reason we have to utilize every second and concentrate totally on our work. We can´t afford to waste time discussing details in the set-up, but work quickly and effectively," explains Head of Audi Sport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich.

Driver line-up for Mosport:
Infineon Audi R8 #1 Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen
Infineon Audi R8 #2 Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela
Champion Audi #38 Andy Wallace and Johnny Herbert

Driver's Points Standings:
1. Rinaldo Capello Infineon Audi R8 101
2. Tom Kristensen Infineon Audi R8 97
3. Emanuele Pirro Infineon Audi R8 94
4. Frank Biela Infineon Audi R8 92
5. Andy Wallace Champion Audi R8 78

Audi season to date:

Texas Qualify first and twenty-second, Capello on pole
Finish first and second, Capello/Kristensen win

Sebring Qualify first and second, Pirro on pole
Finish first and second, Capello/Aiello/Alboreto win

Donington Qualify first and second, Kristensen on pole
Finish first and second, Capello/Kristensen win

Jarama Qualify first and second, Kristensen on pole
Finish first and second, Capello/Kristensen

Le Mans Qualify first and second, Capello on pole
Finish first and second, Biela/Kristensen/Pirro

Sears Point Qualify first and second, Capello on pole
Finish first and second, Capello/Kristensen

Portland Qualify second and third, Kristensen second, Pirro third
Finish second and fifth

-Audi-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Andy Wallace , Johnny Herbert , Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Frank Biela , Reinhold Joest , Emanuele Pirro