All Audi front row in Portland, with new track record

Portland, Oregon, For the fifth time in a row Audi took pole position in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). This time it was Rinaldo Capello who set fastest time during the 20 minutes of qualifying at Portland International Raceway. Capello set...

Portland, Oregon, For the fifth time in a row Audi took pole position in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). This time it was Rinaldo Capello who set fastest time during the 20 minutes of qualifying at Portland International Raceway. Capello set the new track record with a time of 1:04.312 and 108.820 mph. Le Mans winner Frank Biela, who was quickest during the free practice, completed the all Audi front row with second fastest time. After the grueling heat of Texas last weekend, the weather turns out to be more comfortable in Portland. Despite dark clouds the entire qualifying took place under dry conditions.

Round eight of the American Le Mans Series starts on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. local time and runs over a distance of 2:45 hours. Rinaldo Capello (#77) and Emanuele Pirro (#78) will be the start drivers in the two Audi R8s.

Quotes after qualifying:

Rinaldo Capello (#77): "We improved the car a lot since the free practice sessions. Now I had a much better feeling and I knew I could do a good lap time. Nevertheless I had to push very hard because the Panoz team was very strong and forces us to work even harder. We are not going to change anything on the car for the race except a shorter first gear so that we can get away better at the start."

Frank Biela (#78): "It's a pity that we didn't make it to pole position. But still I'm quite satisfied because our car is very good. And with a margin of a few hundredths of a second you also need a lot of luck. For Emanuele having three points less than me in the championship he will do the start tomorrow. With a clean track he has a good chance to do the quickest lap and get an extra point. A chicane right after the start is always a problem. We have to take good care of the second and third row. They will definitely go for their chance to catch up right at the beginning."

Reinhold Joest, Team Director Audi Sport North America: "It was not an easy job to find the right set-up for both cars, especially with car no. 77. Panoz is getting faster and closer so I expect the race to be very exciting. The second problem, after the first chicane, is the low grip on the track, which makes the tires lock up again and again. The good thing is that both Audi R8s are in the first row. I hope we'll manage to keep the Panoz behind so that our drivers can concentrate on their own performance."

<pre> Qualifying results: 1. Capello/McNish (Audi R8) 1m 04.312s, 108.820mph, new track record 2. Biela/Pirro (Audi R8) 1m 04.387s 3. Brabham/Magnussen (Panoz) 1m 04.503s 4. O'Connell/Katoh (Panoz) 1m 05.309s 5. Schiattarella/de Radigues (Lola) 1m 05.394s 6. Lehto/Müller (BMW) 1m 05.582s 7. Johansson/Smith (Reynard) 1m 05.758s 8. Auberlen/Gounon (BMW) 1m 05.940s 9. Angelelli/Taylor (Cadillac) 1m 06.993s 10. Field/Sutherland (Lola) 1m 07.273s

Audi Sport North America is the motorsports arm of Audi of America, Inc.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Rinaldo Capello , Frank Biela , Reinhold Joest , Emanuele Pirro