Sonoma, Calif. -- Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen, driving the number one Infineon Audi R8, won the X-Factor Grand Prix of Sears Point ahead of their teammates Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro. The Italian and Danish duo won the race from pole ...
Sonoma, Calif. -- Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen, driving the number one Infineon Audi R8, won the X-Factor Grand Prix of Sears Point ahead of their teammates Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro. The Italian and Danish duo won the race from pole position in round three of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).
The race was full of thrilling action at the front. During the 2:45 hours of racing, both Infineon Audi R8 diced hard on the undulating Californian circuit. Tom Kristensen and Emanuele Pirro had an exciting duel throughout the race.
Tom Kristensen set excellent lap times, although the victory for the number one Infineon Audi R8 was settled not on the track but in the pitlane. The strategy of Capello and Kristensen proved to be the key to victory with a margin of less than seven seconds between the two Infineon R8 racers.
The Champion team also showed strongly with their 2000-spec Audi R8. Andy Wallace and former Formula 1 driver Johnny Herbert finished fourth after fighting for a place on the podium with the fastest Panoz.
There is not much time to relax for drivers and mechanics the next race is at Portland on August 4.
Quotes after the race Rinaldo Capello (#1): "We won this race not on the track but in the pit lane. Tom did a fantastic job this weekend as he has never raced on this circuit before. I think we put on a great show for all the spectators. Frank and Emanuele were at least as quick as us but they will fight back."
Tom Kristensen (#1): "I have to thank Dindo for his great help during the weekend. That was really an exciting race, especially the fight I had with Emanuele. I tried to put him under pressure as much as I could, but he didn't make a single mistake."
Frank Biela (#2): "It was a very tough race today with a lot of bad luck for our car. We lost some seconds with our different pit strategy and perhaps that cost us victory. But that shows just how close this race was."
Emanuele Pirro (#2): "I have to thank the mechanics for their work during this weekend. When we came here on Friday there was a lot to improve on the car and now the R8 was simply perfect. Of course I'm not happy with second position but at least we had a really good fight for the lead."
Johnny Herbert (#38): "When I took over from Andy it was game over really because unless the two factory Audis or Panoz suffered from a problem then the best we could finish was fourth. I had a good dice with the Panoz and got past him which proved a point but we'll be back and with luck on our side, will be pushing hard for honours."
Andy Wallace (#38): "We started on a slighter lighter fuel load because we wanted to stay with the factory Audis but I made an appalling start. Brabham was driving very hard and I got delayed. But we lost any hope of claiming a podium position when the pace car came out in front of me having just been lapped by Dindo which allowed Brabham to gain almost a lap."
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport: "The race was decided by the various pit stop strategies with Dindo and Tom coming out on top on this occasion. Until the final moments of the race, it was a tough battle between our two cars. The Champion Audi did similar lap times but the team may have taken too much risk with their pit stop strategy."
Reinhold Joest, Team Director Audi Sport North America: "We did a reliable and fast race which was really thrilling. The full course yellows always allowed the margin to fluctuate. Without these yellow flags, Frank and Emanuele might have taken the victory."
Sears Point Race Results: 1. Capello/Kristensen (Infineon Audi R8) 107 laps 2. Biela/Pirro (Infineon Audi R8) - 6.647s 3. Brabham/Magnussen (Panoz) - 1 lap 4. Wallace/Herbert (Audi R8) - 1 lap 5. Fellows/O'Connell (Chevrolet) - 10 laps 6. Pilgrim/Collins (Chevrolet) - 10 laps 7. Lehto/Müller (BMW) - 10 laps 8. Müller/Ekblom (BMW) - 11 laps 9. Said/Stuck (BMW) - 11 laps 10. Auberlen/Jonsson (BMW) - 11 laps
Audi season to date: Texas Qualify first and twenty-second, Capello on pole Finish first and second, Capello/Kristensen win Sebring Qualify first and second, Pirro on pole Finish first and second, Capello/Aiello/Alboreto win Donington Qualify first and second, Kristensen on pole Finish first and second, Capello/Kristensen win Jarama Qualify first and second, Kristensen on pole Finish first and second, Capello/Kristensen Le Mans Qualify first and second, Capello on pole Finish first and second, Biela/Kristensen/Pirro Sears Point Qualify first and second, Capello on pole Finsih first and second, Capello/Kristensen