Both Audi cars on front row at ILMC inaugural race Ingolstadt/Silverstone, September 11, 2010 - Audi has written a small chapter of motorsport history by securing the first ever pole position in the new Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC). Both...
Both Audi cars on front row at ILMC inaugural race
Ingolstadt/Silverstone, September 11, 2010 - Audi has written a small chapter of motorsport history by securing the first ever pole position in the new Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC). Both Audi R15 TDI cars will start into the 1000-kilometer race at Silverstone (Great Britain) from the front row.
At the Le Mans 24 Hours Audi triumphed in June primarily due to the reliability and efficiency of the Audi R15 TDI. At the inaugural round of the new worldwide sports car racing series at Silverstone the innovative diesel race sports car from Ingolstadt has been setting the pace so far as well: after posting fastest times in two of the three free practice sessions Allan McNish and Timo Bernhard clinched the two top grid positions in qualifying on Saturday afternoon.
Audi last started from the top grid position in a sports car race more than two years ago. For the Audi R15 TDI which has already won three races this marked the first pole position in its seventh racing commitment, for Allan McNish the first since Sebring in 2008.
The Audi R15 TDI powered by a V10 TDI engine with VTG technology was optimized after the triumph at Le Mans for the upcoming ILMC races. At Silverstone, it is running for the first time with an aero package trimmed for more downforce that works equally well in rain, mixed weather conditions and on a dry track.
Starting the time chase right at the beginning of the 20-minute qualifying session proved to be the right decision. In the end, nobody managed to equal the times set by Allan McNish (1m 43.475s) and Timo Bernhard (1m 44.012s). The best Peugeot came short of claiming the pole position by more than one second.
Allan McNish and Timo Bernhard have been nominated as the starting drivers for the race (starting on Sunday at 11:55 a.m. local time) as well. McNish will share the cockpit of the car designated as number "7" with Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen, Timo Bernhard will take turns at the wheel of car number "8" with Dindo Capello.
Quotes after qualifying
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "It's great to have both cars on the front row of the grid in the first race of the new Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. This gives the whole squad additional motivation, too. The results show that our performance is right and is the result of hard work after Le Mans. Obviously, only the race tomorrow will show who will truly finish as the winner. But having both cars on row one is a nice result and a good base for the race."
Tom Kristensen (Audi R15 TDI #7): "We made a strong showing as early as in the free practice sessions and were the front runners in two of the three sessions. This trend continued in qualifying. It was difficult to get the timing right in traffic. But Allan (McNish) and Timo (Bernhard) managed it superbly. The two Peugeots seemed to have a bit more of a struggle. Tackling this new racing series with both cars on the front row is brilliant. I'm looking forward to another sunny day at Silverstone."
Allan McNish (Audi R15 TDI #7): "It has been a while since we had our last pole position. But we know that that isn't quite so important in an endurance race. It's much more important that the car has been very good in all the conditions we've had here so far. We're able to drive very consistent lap times and the performance is right. This means that the engineers in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm can be very pleased with these results as well."
Timo Bernhard (Audi R15 TDI #8): "This is a tremendous team result! Personally, I'd been hoping to be able to put a bit more pressure on Allan (McNish) in front of his home audience. I'm pretty pleased with my performance but, unfortunately, didn't have a completely free lap. This is my first race with Dindo (Capello) and a new crew. This situation is off to a good start on the whole. And you've clearly got to acknowledge that Allan is a safe bet here on his home track."
Dindo Capello (Audi R15 TDI #8): "This is a great start into this new racing series. We've shown that we've improved our car with the new aero pack compared with the Le Mans test races. We've got a fast car and are able to fight with our rivals on an equal footing and to take the trophy to Ingolstadt."
Ralf Juttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): "The results show that the small development program we did for the three ILMC races after Le Mans has worked out. In addition, it was a good thing that we had another test before Silverstone to get used to the new aerodynamics with respect to the set-up. Both cars are running well and the drivers are pleased. Timo (Bernhard) could have set a similar time in qualifying as Allan (McNish) but was a bit unfortunate in traffic. Peugeot apparently had to struggle quite a bit. I'm incredibly happy. Now we've got to make sure that we'll keep this up tomorrow and deliver a similar good race."