McNish wins Las Vegas provisional pole

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Allan McNish braved a wet track and rainy conditions to win the provisional pole Friday for Sunday's American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Las Vegas at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Scotland's McNish, who can wrap up the 2000 ALMS...

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Allan McNish braved a wet track and rainy conditions to win the provisional pole Friday for Sunday's American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Las Vegas at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Scotland's McNish, who can wrap up the 2000 ALMS championship with a win on Sunday, turned the 2.25-mile circuit at 111.435 mph (1:12.688) in an Audi R8 Prototype. Final qualifying will be held Saturday for the two-hour, 45-minute sports car endurance race.

"I wasn't thinking about the championship when I went out," said McNish. "I just wanted to bring the car back safely. Three or four of us had an excursion through the gravel in turn five. We changed to rain tires and that was the correct thing to do."

Because rain began to fall just as Prototype qualifying began, speeds were well below the track record of 120.170 mph that was set in 1999 by David Brabham. McNish, who will co-drive with Rinaldo Capello of Italy in the race, had unofficially broken the record in testing on Thursday during dry conditions.

Jan Magnussen of Denmark, who will co-drive with Australia's Brabham, was second-fastest Friday in a Panoz LMP-1 at 110.239, with the Audi R8 of Frank Biela of Monaco and Emanuele Pirro of Italy third at 109.890.

Rainy conditions during Prototype qualifying also created an unusual provisional lineup, as many of the faster cars in the GTS class that had qualified previously in dry conditions remained in the overall top 10. The Chevrolet Corvette C5-R of Canada's Ron Fellows and Andy Pilgrim of Cooper City, Fla., ended up fourth overall at 108.196.

"For a few minutes, I had a dream that I would end up on the pole," said Fellows.

The Porsche 911 GT3 R of Lucas Luhr and Dirk Muller, both of Monaco, was fastest in the GT class at and was 14th overall at 103.357.

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Rinaldo Capello , Dirk Müller , Jan Magnussen , Allan McNish , Frank Biela , Ron Fellows , Andy Pilgrim , Lucas Luhr , Emanuele Pirro