Adelaide, December 30, 2000 - Olivier Beretta secured pole position in qualifying for the 12th and final round of the American Le Mans Series on the former Grand Prix circuit in Adelaide, Australia today (Saturday).
The Monegasque, who has all but secured his second consecutive championship for drivers, recorded a time of 1m 34.6s, 0.9s faster than his Viper Team ORECA team-mate Jean-Philippe Belloc , who was second in the car that he shares with Portuguese Ni Amorim . The privately-entered Chamberlain team Viper will line up third in class after South African Stephen Watson recorded a time of 1m35.9s, a further four-tenths off Belloc's time.
"The lap was the first one that I completed in daylight," said Beretta who sat out Friday's sessions as the team repaired accident damage. "The track was slippery and we had only a short time to set-up the car, but we know the Viper very well which helps. I have never done a 6-hour street race before."
Pierre Dieudonné , Sporting Director of ORECA, was happy with the 1-2 qualifying result. "It is a very slippery track, like Le Mans," he said. "First there is the dust and then no rubber down, so there is not really any point working on the set-up of the car early on because the track will change as the weekend goes on."
It was not plain sailing for the #91 Viper that Beretta shares with Austrian Karl Wendlinger and Frenchman Dominique Dupuy. Wendlinger crashed heavily during Friday's first free practice session though walked away unhurt from the accident that caused extensive rear-end damage.
"You never know the end result once something like this happens," said Dieudonné. "You could drive away or you could pack up the car in a box and ship it back to Europe. On this occasion we were able to repair the damage, but I hope that was our only scare of the weekend."
The 6-hour endurance event will start at 4pm local time in Adelaide on Sunday, ten-and-a-half hours ahead of European time and 14-and-a-half hours ahead of US Eastern time.