Sears Point opening practice

SONOMA, Calif. (July 20, 2001) -- Rinaldo Capello, winner of the first two races of the 2001 American Le Mans Series season and the series point leader, turned the fastest lap of the day Friday as practice began for Sunday's The X-Factor...

SONOMA, Calif. (July 20, 2001) -- Rinaldo Capello, winner of the first two races of the 2001 American Le Mans Series season and the series point leader, turned the fastest lap of the day Friday as practice began for Sunday's The X-Factor Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sears Point Raceway.

Italy's Capello, driving an Audi R8, toured the 2.52-mile circuit at 110.710 mph (1:21.944) to lead the day of practice. Qualifying will be held Saturday to set the starting lineup for Sunday's two-hour, 45-minute sports car endurance race.

Capello will co-drive with Tom Kristensen of Denmark. The two drove to victory in the ALMS season opener at Texas Motor Speedway in March, and Capello also won the 12 Hours at Sebring two weeks later with co-drivers Laurent Aiello and the late Michele Alboreto. The ALMS has not held a race since the Mar. 17 Sebring event.

The Audi team car driven by Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro was second-fastest on the day at 110.208 (1:22.317), followed by the Panoz LMP-1 of Franck Lagorce and Klaus Graf at 107.718 (1:24.220).

Dick Barbour Racing's Reynard 01Q-Judd driven by Didier de Radigues of Belgium led the LMP 675 class with a lap of 103.315 (1:27.809). De Radigues will co-drive with John Graham of Canada and with Milka Duno of Venezuela, the only female driver in the field.

The GTS class was led by the Saleen S7R of Terry Borcheller and Franz Konrad, which Borcheller drove to a lap of 98.511 (1:32.091). The two co-drove to victory with Oliver Gavin in the most recent ALMS race at Sebring. The Chevrolet Corvette of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell, expected to battle with the Saleen in the race, ran only a handful of slow laps on Friday before breaking a half-shaft and missing the rest of the session.

Bill Auberlen of Hermosa Beach, Calif., drove a new BMW M3 GTR to the fastest lap of the day in the GT class, posting a speed of 97.123 (1:33.407). He will co-drive with Niclas Jonsson of Sweden in Sunday's race. The X-Factor Grand Prix of Sonoma will be televised live by NBC Sports beginning at 4 p.m. (EDT). Highlights will be shown one week later on Eurosport. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.

-ALMS

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Series ALMS
Drivers Milka Duno , Rinaldo Capello , Didier de Radigues , Tom Kristensen , Frank Biela , Klaus Graf , Laurent Aiello , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Franck Lagorce , Bill Auberlen , John Graham , Terry Borcheller , Oliver Gavin , Dick Barbour , Michele Alboreto , Emanuele Pirro