Audis lead opening day at Adelaide

Originally-From: "Andy Hall" <andyhall58@hotmail.com> ADELAIDE, Australia (December 29, 2000) -- Emanuele Pirro drew on his past experience as a Formula One driver on the Adelaide street circuit to post the fastest lap Friday in the...

Originally-From: "Andy Hall" <andyhall58@hotmail.com>

ADELAIDE, Australia (December 29, 2000) -- Emanuele Pirro drew on his past experience as a Formula One driver on the Adelaide street circuit to post the fastest lap Friday in the first day of practice for Sunday's American Le Mans Series season finale.

Pirro, at the wheel of an Audi R8 that he will co-drive with Frank Biela in the six-hour Race of a Thousand Years, turned the 2.4-mile circuit in 1:24.839 (100.143 mph), the fastest lap recorded in three practice sessions on Friday.

The Audi co-driven by Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello was second-fastest at 1:25.501 (99.367 mph). The fast times by the two Audis were recorded in a late afternoon practice session, the second session of the day involving the Prototype class.

The day's third-fastest time was recorded by David Brabham (1:26.404) in a night practice session. Brabham is co-driving a Panoz LMP-1 with Jason Bright and Greg Murphy.

Despite a crash in the day's first session that caused significant rear-end damage, the Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Olivier Beretta was fastest of the day in the GTS class at 1:35.323. The car was being driven by teammate Karl Wendlinger when the rear end spun around and impacted the wall in turn seven during the opening moments of practice. The team missed the second practice, but returned for the night session when Beretta set the pace. Beretta and Wendlinger will co-drive with Dominique Dupuy.

The fastest lap of the day in the GT class was recorded in the night session by the Porsche 911 GT3 R of Sascha Maassen and Bob Wollek at 1:36.977. Their Dick Barbour Racing team car driven by Lucas Luhr and Dirk Muller was second-fastest at 1:37.313.

While there were several off-track excursions during the day, the hardest crash occurred in the late afternoon session when a Prototype driven by Charlie Slater crashed into the wall in turn two. Slater was uninjured and the team began repairs to try and be ready for Saturday qualifying.

--Andy Hall

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