The Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx R8s line-up first and third on the 39-car grid for the opening round of the Le Mans Endurance Series at Monza in Italy on Sunday. Allan McNish qualified #8 in third position after setting a time of 1min 39.546secs in the first of two 45-minute qualifying sessions on Saturday. Jamie Davies, driving #88, stopped the clock at 1:39.704 around the 3.6-mile track near Milan during a red flag interrupted morning session.
Benefiting from warmer conditions in the late afternoon time trial, Davies' co-driver Johnny Herbert claimed the Veloqx Audi team's first pole-position - in only their second race - with a scintillating 1:38.461. McNish's best afternoon time of 1:38.672 netted him a second row start. The British Audi team starts the 1,000km Monza race, the first round of the new 4-race LMES, having finished first and third on their debut in the Sebring 12 Hours (20 Mar) and first and second fastest in Le Mans 24 Hours Pre-Tests (25 Apr).
Audi R8 - #8
(Qualified -- 3rd, 1min 38.672secs -- McNish)
Pierre Kaffer (D)
"Driving the Audi R8 in the wet [on Friday] for the first time was especially exciting and over the past two days I've needed to adapt my driving style from the last time I was here in a Porsche SuperCup car. Allan did a great job in qualifying but it was the luck of the draw as to who managed to find the clearest lap. It should be an exciting race."
Allan McNish (GB)
"Testing on Friday had gone well but I'm a little disappointed and frustrated to only be third fastest overall. The Audi felt really good, especially in the afternoon session, and if I'd managed a clear lap, without traffic, I'm positive we'd have been on the front row - and possibly pole. Bottom line, I'm confident for the race."
Audi R8 - #88
(Qualified -- 1st, 1min 38.461secs -- Herbert)
Jamie Davies (GB)
"The track conditions were a little tricky this morning and we failed to get the best out of our tyres. But we made changes to the R8 during the lunch break which really helped. I drove for the final few minutes after Johnny had set the pole time and the balance felt really good. I feel comfortable in the Audi and I'm very excited about our prospects."
Johnny Herbert (GB)
"This is my first pole-position since 1988 - I'd forgotten what it was like to be fastest - and I' m delighted. I wasn't too happy in the morning session but we sorted some things in between the two sessions and the changes worked very well. For me, the Audi is the best its been this year and that showed in my times."
Sam Li, Team Principal:
"The entire team did a superb job today in what was a very exciting final qualifying session. Johnny gave a fantastic performance to grab pole while it was a little frustrating for car #8 which was running a different tyre strategy. Both cars showed competitive qualifying pace but our race pace also looks very impressive."