Audi maintains chance for title in Le Mans Series Ingolstadt/Nurburg -- Audi youngsters Alexandre Premat (26) and Mike Rockenfeller (25) again clinched a podium result at the fourth round of the European-based Le Mans Series. With third place at...
Audi maintains chance for title in Le Mans Series
Ingolstadt/Nurburg -- Audi youngsters Alexandre Premat (26) and Mike Rockenfeller (25) again clinched a podium result at the fourth round of the European-based Le Mans Series. With third place at the 1000-kilometre race at the Nurburgring, they maintained their chance in the fight for the title. Dindo Capello and Allan McNish in the second Audi R10 TDI finished in fourth place.
Before the finale at Silverstone (Great Britain) on 14 September, Premat and Rockenfeller are ranking only two points behind Championship leaders Marc Gene and Nicolas Minassian in the LM P1 class standings. In the Manufacturers' classification, Audi has a six-point gap to title defender Peugeot.
The two Audi R10 TDI cars of Audi Sport Team Joest fought a team-internal duel for third place during the whole race at the Nurburgring in front of 22,000 spectators (throughout the weekend). Positions changed several times before two punctures -- caused by debris on the track -- decided the outcome.
First, Alexandre Premat lost third place due to an unscheduled tyre change. Three laps before race end Allan McNish had to pit once more as well -- his right rear tyre was damaged. The pit stop caused the Scotsman to drop back to fourth place.
Quotes after the race at the Nurburgring
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Of course, we'd have wished for a slightly better result than places three and four at our home race. But the two Peugeots couldn't be beaten here. The team and the drivers achieved the maximum and kept the title fight open. This means that we'll be seeing a thrilling finale at Silverstone."
Alexandre Premat (Audi R10 TDI #2): "It was a good race for 'Rocky' and me. We were both quick, even in traffic. You can see that we've learned a lot since the beginning of the season. Unfortunately, we had no chance against the Peugeots. Nevertheless, we still have hopes for the championship. We've only got a two-point gap to Marc (Gene) and Nicolas (Minassian). We'll do everything we can at Silverstone to clinch the title."
Mike Rockenfeller (Audi R10 TDI #2): "In terms of speed we wanted to be closer to our team-mates, and we managed that. We drove similar lap times, so we're very satisfied in that respect. At the previous races we were still lacking something. We know it's difficult against Peugeot. But we've still been making maximum use of the potential for Audi so far. We want to do that at Silverstone as well and decide the championship in our favour."
Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #1): "That was a really tough weekend for us. My first stint in the race was terrible. I had no grip whatsoever. I can't remember ever having fought so hard with the R10. The second stint was a bit better. But in the third stint I again had absolutely no feeling for the car. We need to find out what was wrong and solve the problem before Silverstone so that we can drive a great season finale there."
Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #1): "We already had problems with our car in qualifying. Unfortunately, they continued in the race. The car was inconsistent. Dindo (Capello) and I both had the same feeling. Still, we were able to move forwards up to third place at times."
Ralf Juttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): "It was a pretty uneventful race. The Peugeots were able to fully play out their advantage. In the first two hours they saddled us with a lap before the situation became a little more balanced. We saw a nice fight among our two cars. Positions kept changing. But then Alex (Premat) had a slow puncture. He had to pit a little earlier but, fortunately, late enough so that this didn't mean an extra stop. The other car had also a slow puncture just before the end of the race. Apparently, there was a lot of debris on the track. Too bad that this caused Dindo and Allan to miss the podium again. But we'll make up for that at Silverstone."