Audi wins at Sonoma

Audi Dominates Grand Prix of Sonoma; Said, Stuck Power BMW to first GT Win SONOMA, Calif. (July 23, 2000) - Allan McNish of Scotland streaked to a one-lap lead and Italy's Rinaldo Capello finished the job in an Audi R8 prototype to capture the...

Audi Dominates Grand Prix of Sonoma; Said, Stuck Power BMW to first GT Win

SONOMA, Calif. (July 23, 2000) - Allan McNish of Scotland streaked to a one-lap lead and Italy's Rinaldo Capello finished the job in an Audi R8 prototype to capture the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Sonoma Sunday at Sears Point Raceway.

McNish drove a "double stint" at the start when the team determined its tires would hold up for the run and put a lap on the field, including his team Audi driven by Emanuele Pirro of Italy and Frank Biela of Monaco.

"The car was very, very good," McNish said. "In fact, the balance got better as the fuel load went down. I expected us to be quick but I didn't expect us to pull so much in the second stint."

All that was left for Capello was to maintain the edge.

"I just had to concentrate, not push," Capello said. "My biggest problem was to keep concentrating. Honestly, my feeling was for me to push but I had to force myself not to push because we didn't need it."

The Audi victory came on the heels of its 1-2-3 finish last month in the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans in France.

Third overall went to the BMW prototype driven by Finland's J.J. Lehto and Monaco's Jorg Muller, followed by the second BMW driven by Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif., and Jean-Marc Gounon of France, both two laps down. A Panoz LMP-1 driven by David Brabham of Australia and Jan Magnussen of Denmark was fifth, eight laps down.

In the GTS class, Dodge Viper posted its 11th consecutive win in American Le Mans Series competition, this time with David Donohue of Malvern, Pa., and Tommy Archer of Duluth, Minn., going to victory lane ahead of teammates Karl Wendlinger of Austria and defending ALMS GTS driver champion Olivier Beretta of Monaco.

In the GT division, Formula One veteran Hans Stuck of Austria and Boris Said of Carlsbad, Calif., posted the Prototype Technology Group's BMW M3 program's second consecutive Sears Point win.

The Donohue-Archer Viper was 45 seconds ahead of its Team ORECA team car, even though the day's heat was a problem.

"It was so hot that I had to talk to myself the last 20 laps just to get through to the end," Archer said.

For BMW, it was the first Le Mans Series win of the season, beating a Porsche driven by Lucas Luhr and Dirk Muller of Monaco by a lap. Muller had posted the fastest GT time in qualifying and the Luhr-Muller tandem has dominated the division this season.

"Sears Point is a handling track and that's our kind of track," commented Said.

"(The) Porsche (cars) were fast on the straightaways but we were men in the corners," said Stuck. <pre> Sunday Results Unofficial results of Sunday's American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sears Point Raceway, showing finishing position, starting position, drivers, hometown or country, car and laps completed:

1. (1) Allan McNish, Scotland; Rinaldo Capello, Italy, Audi R8, 114, 2. (2) Emanuele Pirro, Italy; Frank Biela, Monaco, Audi R8, 113. 3. (6) J.J. Lehto, Finland; Jorg Muller, Monaco, BMW V12 LMR, 112. 4. (8) Bill Auberlen, Redondo Beach, Calif.; Jean-Marc Gounon, France, BMW V12 LMR, 112. 5. (3) David Brabham, England; Jan Magnussen, Denmark, Panoz LMP-1, 106. 6. (9) Jon Field, Dublin, Ohio; Rick Sutherland, San Jose, Calif., Lola B2K, 102. 7. (7) Stefan Johansson, Indianapolis; Guy Smith, England, Reynard 2KQ, 101. 8. (13) David Donohue, Malvern, Pa.; Tommy Archer, Duluth, Minn., Dodge Viper, 101. 9. (12) Karl Wendlinger, Austria; Olivier Beretta, Monaco, Dodge Viper, 101. 10. (16) Hans Stuck, Austria; Boris Said, Carlsbad, Calif., BMW M3, 100. 11. (15) Lucas Luhr, Monaco; Dirk Muller, Monaco, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 99. 12. (18) Sascha Maassen, Germany; Bob Wollek, France, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 99. 13. (20) Johannes van Overbeek, Danville, Calif.; Peter Cunningham, West Bend, Wis., BMW M3, 98. 14. (19) Randy Pobst, Melbourne, Fla.; Bruno Lambert, Belgium, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 98. 15. (14) Zak Brown, Indianapolis; Vic Rice, San Rafael, Calif., Porsche 911 turbo, 97. 16. (23) Shane Lewis, Jupiter, Fla.; Cort Wagner, Santa Monica, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3 R, 96. 17. (21) Mike Fitzgerald, Atlanta; Bob Nagel, Clearwater, Fla., Porsche 911 GT3 R, 96. 18. (28) Gunnar Jeannette, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; Michael Petersen, Las Vegas, Nev.; Dale White, Las Vegas, Nev., Porsche 911 GT3 R, 92. 19. (27) Jennifer Tumminelli, Tiburon, Calif.; Steve Ariana, Dublin, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3 R, 76. 20. (24) Tony Burgess, Canada; Stefano Buttiero, Italy, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 71. 21. (4) Johnny O'Connell, Flowery Branch, Ga.; Hiroki Katoh, Japan, Panoz LMP-1, 67, acc. 22. (11) Dorsey Schroeder, Little Torch Key, Fla.; James Weaver, England, Lola B2K, 62, mech. 23. (22) David Murry, Atlanta; Johnny Mowlem, England, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 49, mech. 24. (26) Doc Bundy, Gainesville, Ga.; Rohan Skea, Australia; Grady Willingham, Birmingham Ala., Porsche 911 GT3 R, 38, mechanical. 25. (10) Mark Simo, Carlsbad, Calif.; Jim Matthews, Indianapolis, Reynard 2KQ, 22, garage. 26. (5) Mimmo Schiattarella, Monaco; Didier de Radigues, Monaco, Lola B2K, 21, off course. 27. (17) Brian Cunningham, Danville, Ky.; Niclas Jonsson, Aliso Viejo, Calif., BMW M3, 20, mechanical. 28. (25) Kevin Buckler, Sonoma, Calif.; Rick Knoop, Portola Valley, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3R, 7, off course. 29. (29) Kye Wankum, Canada; Greg Doff, Canada, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 4, mechanical.

Time of Race: 2 hours, 46 minutes, 31.336. Average Speed: 103.51 miles an hour. Lap Leaders: McNish 1-36, Pirro 37-38, McNish/Capello 39-114.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Shane Lewis , David Brabham , Stefan Johansson , Rinaldo Capello , Didier de Radigues , Dirk Müller , Jan Magnussen , Allan McNish , Bruno Lambert , J.J. Lehto , Guy Smith , Frank Biela , James Weaver , Boris Said , Karl Wendlinger , Johnny O'Connell , David Murry , Jorg Muller , Bill Auberlen , Tommy Archer , Randy Pobst , Tony Burgess , Jon Field , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Kevin Buckler , David Donohue , Gunnar Jeannette , Dorsey Schroeder , Hiroki Katoh , Peter Cunningham , Johannes van Overbeek , Jim Matthews , Brian Cunningham , Rick Sutherland , Mimmo Schiattarella , Johnny Mowlem , Michael Petersen , Vic Rice , Jean-Marc Gounon , Olivier Beretta , Grady Willingham , Bob Wollek , Doc Bundy , Aliso Viejo , Rick Knoop , Zak Brown , Emanuele Pirro , Cort Wagner