After the pre-practice for the Le Mans 24 Hour race, in which Audi driver Rinaldo Capello recorded the fastest time, the Audi team now concentrates on the second European guest appearance of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS): On May 20, the Le...
After the pre-practice for the Le Mans 24 Hour race, in which Audi driver Rinaldo Capello recorded the fastest time, the Audi team now concentrates on the second European guest appearance of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS): On May 20, the Le Mans sportscars compete on the Jarama circuit near the Spanish capital of Madrid.
The former Grand Prix circuit is regarded as a relatively slow yet difficult race track, but is not new territory for most of the Audi drivers. Emanuele Pirro is particularly looking forward to racing on the twisty circuit again. "I have experienced many good races in Jarama," declares the Italian. "So, I hope that Frank and I at last manage our first win of the season."
His team mate Frank Biela is familiar with Jarama from testing there. "It's an extremely demanding circuit with lots of corners, and without any long straights," the German explains. "For this reason, the race will be also quite exhausting." Biela's goal is clear: "In Jarama we simply have to win, otherwise the chance at the championship for Emanuele and me will soon be out of reach."
ALMS front-runners Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen, sharing the cockpit of the no. 1 Infineon Audi R8, travel to Spain with three victories to their credit. "This means we could relax a little," Capello believes. "However, we will do what is necessary to win."
Of the four Audi drivers, the Italian is the only one who is not familiar with the Jarama circuit. For this reason, Tom Kristensen will drive in the qualifying, like in Donington. "Normally, we always swap," explains Capello. "But because Tom knows the track, it makes more sense that he goes for top times and I will concentrate on learning the circuit."
Kristensen is also looking forward to the 2:45 hour race in Spain. "I've only tested there with a sportscar over two days," says the Dane. "It's relatively slow with a total of five hairpins. This does not sound particularly exciting, but the combination of corners is extremely interesting and there are two fast sections which you drive blind."
Reinhold Joest's team were last in Jarama ten years ago. "Since then, the circuit has undergone some changes, so basically it is new territory for us," says the Team Director of Audi Sport North America. "But we faced this situation last year with most of the US tracks as well. On the computer we have calculated optimal gear ratios and, despite the extremely short practice time, we will be well prepared."
The modified aerodynamics, which proved successful at the pre-practice in Le Mans, in all probability will not be used at Jarama. "We don't have enough spare parts yet," explains Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport. "But after the first races of the season we know that the Infineon R8 is still a winner, even with last year's aerodynamics."
<pre> Jarama timetable
Friday, 18 May 14:00 -- 16:00 hrs Testing
Saturday, 19 May 11:30 -- 12:30 hrs Free practice 16:20 -- 16:50 hrs Qualifying
Sunday, 20 May 09:00 -- 09:30 hrs Warm-up 13:00 hrs Start