Nurburgring: Audi qualifying report

Audi youngsters outrun veterans for the first time Ingolstadt/Nurburg -- At the fourth round of the Le Mans Series at the Nurburgring, the Audi youngsters Alexandre Premat (26) and Mike Rockenfeller (25) won the qualifying duel against their...

Audi youngsters outrun veterans for the first time

Ingolstadt/Nurburg -- At the fourth round of the Le Mans Series at the Nurburgring, the Audi youngsters Alexandre Premat (26) and Mike Rockenfeller (25) won the qualifying duel against their more seasoned team-mates Dindo Capello and Allan McNish for the first time. The Frenchman Alexandre Premat was 49 thousandths of a second quicker than the Italian Dindo Capello in the qualifying for the 1000-kilometre race at the Nurburgring.

The two Audi R10 TDI cars of Audi Sport Team Joest will start from positions four and five at 12:05 on Sunday, but were hindered from displaying their full potential in Saturday's qualifying. Premat and Capello were the first drivers to go out on the track. Because a car stopped behind them in the pit lane, causing a traffic jam, they started their timed laps precisely at the time when cars were still leaving the pit lane. Both Audi drivers got stuck in dense traffic and lost about seven tenths of a second behind slower cars. In addition, Capello, while braking, was struggling with locking front wheels on his Audi R10 TDI.

Before the 1000-kilometre race at the Nurburgring, Alexandre Premat and Mike Rockenfeller are heading the standings with the same points score as the Peugeot drivers Marc Gene and Nicolas Minassian. At the first three races of the Le Mans Series they finished in second place each time.

Quotes after qualifying at the Nurburgring

Alexandre Premat (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Unfortunately, I was obstructed by two two slower cars at the beginning of the qualifying. This cost me six, seven tenths. But I'm looking forward to tomorrow: We've got a very good car for the race. From position four we can again make it onto the podium."

Mike Rockenfeller (Audi R10 TDI #2): "I watched the qualifying from the grandstands. It was too bad that a couple of slower cars drove in front of Alex's (Premat) nose. When you leave the pits you've simply got to look into your rear view mirror. Still, we're satisfied. We're on second row and are going to attack. We wanted to be closer to our team-mates here or perhaps even a little in front of them -- and we managed that."

Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #1): "In qualifying I lost seven tenths of a second in the last turn behind a Porsche. That cost us third place on the grid. But the bigger problem is the fact that for two days the front wheels of our car have been locking while braking. We've definitely got to solve this problem before the race."

Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #1): "After our fond memories of Le Mans the qualifying result is of course a bit disappointing. We've got difficulties coming up with good balance here. The car doesn't absorb the bumps well enough. We've still got a lot of work to do."

Ralf Juttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): "That the two Peugeots are in front comes as no surprise, and neither does the gap. But that the Aston-Martin-Lola is in front of us as well is a bit of a blemish. But our two cars got stuck in traffic on fresh tyres. When they finally had a free lap the tyres were already less than perfect. In a 1000-kilometre race, grid positions four and five are really not that bad, though. We're going to correct that tomorrow."

-credit: audi

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Allan McNish , Nicolas Minassian , Marc Gene , Alexandre Prémat , Mike Rockenfeller , Dindo Capello , Ralf Juttner
Teams Audi Sport Team Joest