Audi duo Alan McNish and Rinaldo Capello recorded their second Le Mans Series victory in a row today as Australia's David Brabham's hopes of success were shattered by a crash by team-mate Jan Magnussen at Mosport in Canada. The Dane had taken...
Audi duo Alan McNish and Rinaldo Capello recorded their second Le Mans Series victory in a row today as Australia's David Brabham's hopes of success were shattered by a crash by team-mate Jan Magnussen at Mosport in Canada.
The Dane had taken the chase to Audi's Frank Biela in the first hour of the race at the Canadian circuit.
However, one hour and twenty minutes into the race, disaster struck for the Panoz team with both team cars in the pits after on-track incidents.
While the sister car of Johnny O'Connell and Hiroki Katoh was able to get back on track after a long delay, the Brabham/Magnussen car was too badly damaged to continue after the turn one crash.
"I felt the car bottom out, and then the back end got away from me and the next thing was that I was in the wall," Magnussen said.
"I've got a mark on my crash helmet where my head hit the steering wheel and have a bit of a headache but otherwise am okay."
With the Biela/Emanuele Pirro Audi later delayed after an incident with a lapped car, the race came down to a thrilling climax between the McNish/Capello Audi and the BMW of championship leader Jorg Muller and JJ Lehto.
With the rain disappearing at the end of the event, Audi elected to stay out on wet tyres while Muller made great strides on new dry rubber - just failing to catch Capello at the finish.
"We were on very old wets at the finish but Rinaldo was able to hold on," Capello's team-mate McNish said.
"I've been terrified for the last hour of the race watching from the pits. He did a great job and I'm very proud of him."
Despite lacking pace in qualifying, the Muller/Lehto combination again pulled out a great result in race trim.
"It was a good tactic to go slicks at the end and it nearly paid off," Lehto said.
"We had a great race, especially after we struggled in beginning. Lady luck smiled on us again today and we have been able to extend our lead."
The battle for the GTS division honours was equally as exciting with Karl Wendlinger and Olivier Beretta able to hold on aboard their Dodge Viper.
The Corvette of local star Ron Fellows had held the lead with Andy Pilgrim throughout much of the event, but came up short at the finish. Randy Pobst and Bruno Lambert completed a consistently strong weekend to win the GT class aboard their Porsche GT3-R.
Championship bonus points went to Biela (pole), McNish (fastest lap) and Capello (most laps led) <pre> RESULTS - PROTOTYPE DIVISION 1. - Rinaldo Capello/Alan McNish - Audi - 94 laps 2. - Jorg Muller/JJ Lehto - BMW - 94 laps 3. - Bill Auberlen/Jean-Marc Gounon - BMW - 93 laps 4. - Karl Wendlinger/Olivier Beretta - Dodge Viper (GTS) - 91 laps 5. - Ron Fellows/Andy Pilgrim - Chevrolet Corvette (GTS) - 91 laps GTS DIVISION 1. - Karl Wendlinger/Olivier Beretta - Dodge Viper - 91 laps GT DIVISION 1. - Randy Pobst/Bruno Lambert - Porsche GT3-R - 89 laps
PROTOTYPE POINTS AFTER ROUND SIX: Jorg Muller 145, JJ Lehto 143, Alan McNish 125, Jan Magnussen 123, Frank Biela 123, David Brabham 122, Rinaldo Capello 122, Emanuele Pirro 120, Bill Auberlen 100, Jean-Marc Gounon 92.