CHARLOTTE, North Carolina - The Audi Prototypes survived a tough day at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The number 78 Audi Sport R8R finished in sixth place with the number 77 car coming in twentieth. The R8R's started fourth and fifth on the grid and...
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina - The Audi Prototypes survived a tough day at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The number 78 Audi Sport R8R finished in sixth place with the number 77 car coming in twentieth.
The R8R's started fourth and fifth on the grid and quickly moved up in the field, running as high as third. On lap 34 a full course yellow slowed the field and the cars pitted. On the restart Frank Biela, in the number 78 Audi, got tangled with the number 43 BMW and spun. "The BMW was behind me and then he got onto the grass, he came back on and then he hit me in the rear and I spun off. After that the car still felt okay, but because of the accident I dropped to the back of the field," said Biela.
On lap 71 the number 77 Audi driven by Rinaldo Capello came into turn two behind a Porsche. "I was on a new set of tires and it was understeering really bad. I passed him on the right side, but I don't think he saw me because he turned in and hit the back of my car sending me into the wall," said Capello.
The Joest Team rebuilt the front end of the 77 car returning Michele Alboreto to the race in less than 30 minutes some 31 laps down. This great teamwork enabled Alboreto to finish the race and score valuable driver points.
Finishing in the 78 Audi, Emanuele Pirro was able to nurse the car home to a sixth place finish with only four of the six gears. "We were third after one hour and then we broke the top two gears - fifth and sixth. Considering everything we scored some points toward the championship," commented Pirro. "At the end of the day we brought the car home and scored some points."
Reinhold Joest commented, "it was not our day, but we fought like lions. The team did an excellent job to repair the 77 car and get it back into the race. Michele was able to do some fast lap time with the car. After Frank's accident, the car was not the same. The diffuser came off as a result of the accident. We were able to stay with the fastest cars and that shows me that even the '99 car can run with the best."