Audi on pole in Texas

Fort Worth, Texas, Audi starts from pole position in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) for the fourth time in as many races. Under a grueling heat with outside temperatures reaching up to 108 degrees, the Audi drivers recorded the fastest...

Fort Worth, Texas, Audi starts from pole position in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) for the fourth time in as many races. Under a grueling heat with outside temperatures reaching up to 108 degrees, the Audi drivers recorded the fastest times during Saturday afternoon's final qualifying session at the Texas Motor Speedway. Despite some surprising rain drops during the final 20-minute session, Allan McNish and Emanuele Pirro were able to improve their times from Friday furthering the gap to the third place Panoz to a full second.

Round seven of the American Le Mans Series starts on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and runs over a distance of two hours and forty-five minutes. Allan McNish (#77) and Emanuele Pirro (#78) will be the starting drivers in the Audi R8s.

Rinaldo Capello (#77): "Our two cars did almost the same times which proves how perfect they are prepared. The most important thing is that the two cars finish the race in the same positions that we qualified. We practiced in the darkness yesterday evening. At the beginning it was quite difficult to see in the infield, but in the end I adapted very well to it, so I don't think this will be a problem."

Allan McNish (#77): "Obviously I am very happy to be on pole. It proves that the Audi is working on all types of circuits as we had four poles in a row now. The nice thing is that it is an Audi 1-2. Let's hope after two hours and forty-five minutes it will be an Audi 1-2 as well."

Frank Biela (#78): "The starting grid is perfect, Audi one and two. Emanuele will start in our car - which is how we always handle it; whoever qualified will start the race. For our car the strategy is clear, you always have to be prepared to change your tactics because of many caution periods. We need to win this race to close the gap to the leading drivers."

Emanuele Pirro(#78): I went out too late and then it started to rain. I am disappointed because this time I could have made it. On the other hand I am happy because we are progressing."

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport: "After qualifying both R8s are close in speed. On average we are about seven to eight-tenths faster than our competitors. For all the teams it is difficult to handle the extreme temperatures. Especially when the car is close behind another car the water temperatures go up so there is a chance of having a problem. We keep a close eye on the development of all the temperatures to be able to react - for example to tell the driver to slow down a little bit in order to cool the temperatures. But I hope this will not happen."

Reinhold Joest, Team Director Audi Sport North America: "We did reach our goal. Both cars are in front and so far I'm very pleased with this result. We are not expecting particular problems because of the heat. Everyone is well prepared - the drivers and the team. We hope to travel to the next race at Portland with a Dallas win in our pocket. That would be nice."

<pre> Texas Qualifying Results:

  1. Capello/McNish (Audi R8)       1m 12.716s, 115.056 mph
  2. Biela/Pirro (Audi R8)              1m 12.809s 
  3. Brabham/Magnussen (Panoz)  1m 13.741s
  4. Auberlen/Gounon (BMW)      1m 14.178s
  5. Lehto/Müller (BMW)             1m 14.222s
  6. O'Connell/Katoh (Panoz)            1m 14.261s
  7. Schiattarella/de Radigues (Lola)   1m 14.608s
  8. Johansson/Smith (Reynard)      1m 15.358s
  9. Matthews/Simo (Reynard)        1m 17.296s
 10. Field/Sutherland (Lola)         1m 20.082s

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Series ALMS
Drivers Rinaldo Capello , Allan McNish , Frank Biela , Reinhold Joest , Emanuele Pirro