Braselton, Georgia, Audi made a perfect start to the race weekend at Road Atlanta. During the first qualifying session on Thursday afternoon, it took Allan McNish only three laps to set a new track record and to take provisional pole position.
Braselton, Georgia, Audi made a perfect start to the race weekend at Road Atlanta. During the first qualifying session on Thursday afternoon, it took Allan McNish only three laps to set a new track record and to take provisional pole position. Emanuele Pirro, in the companion Audi R8, completed the front row with the second fastest time. The Italian also lowered the old track record.
Second and final qualifying starts tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 p.m. The "Petit Le Mans" begins on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and finishes after ten hours or 1000 miles, whichever comes first.
Quotes after first qualifying: Allan McNish (#77): "One of our biggest advantages is that our car fits almost every circuit we visit. No matter if slow, fast or Le Mans - our car is always quick and we just need to do the fine tuning for the race. I think it is quite clear that our Audi R8 is the class of the field. Three laps for a new track record is great. Now I hope it takes me two laps to beat it again tomorrow."
Emanuele Pirro (#78): "This was a good but not a perfect session. I was a bit unlucky this time because we had a small electrical problem when my tires were at their best. I'm very confident there is something more to come tomorrow. I'm not sure if that will be enough for pole position, but I'm looking forward to the second session."
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport: "Until now we worked mainly for the qualifying, but we have clear ideas for the race and will try them on both cars during this evening's night practice. This is a long distance race, so it will be important to find a good race set-up that allows consistent lap times without losing too much performance."
Reinhold Joest, Team Director Audi Sport North America: "It is great for Audi that we already broke the existing lap record during the first qualifying session. It did not look like this in the beginning, as we had some problems with the traction and the balance of the car. But we were able to solve them."
<pre> Provisional qualifying results: 1. Alboreto/Capello/McNish (Audi R8) 1:10.379 129.925 mph 2. Biela/Kristensen/Pirro (Audi R8) 1:10.713 3. Brabham/Magnussen (Panoz) 1:11.187 4. Lehto/Müller (BMW) 1:11.438 5. O`Connell/Katoh/Graf (Panoz) 1:12.060 6. Auberlen/Gounon (BMW) 1:12.116 7. Schiattarella/de Radigues/Simon (Panoz) 1:12.477 8. Tinseau/Goossens (Cadillac) 1:13.611 9. Bernard/Collard (Cadillac) 1:13.691 10. Angelelli/Taylor/van de Poele (Cadillac) 1:13.937