Audi To Start Up Front at Sears Sonoma, Calif. -- Rinaldo Capello easily achieved pole position in the first race of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) following the Le Mans 24 Hours. Behind the Italian and his co-driver Tom Kristensen is ...
Audi To Start Up Front at Sears
Sonoma, Calif. -- Rinaldo Capello easily achieved pole position in the first race of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) following the Le Mans 24 Hours. Behind the Italian and his co-driver Tom Kristensen is their Infineon Audi R8 teammates Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro, who set the second fastest time during the 20 minutes of qualifying.
They are followed by the Champion Audi R8 of Andy Wallace and Johnny Herbert. They challenged the factory squad several times during the free practice sessions of the weekend at Sears Point. Only two tenths of a second behind the Audi customer team comes the fastest of the Panoz cars.
The team is challenged to set up the 610 hp Infineon Audi R8 so that it 'rides' out the bumps, but keeps the downforce in the faster parts of the track.
The third round of the American Le Mans Series at Sears Point starts on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. and will be carried on NBC starting at 4:00 p.m. Rinaldo Capello (#1) and Frank Biela (#2) will start the race in the two Infineon Audi R8s.
Quotes after qualifying
Rinaldo Capello (#1): "I was surprised how slippery the track was compared to this morning. When I did my fastest lap I wasn't sure about my pole at all because I thought I could have gone faster. During the race, the traffic will play an important role. On this narrow circuit there is only one way: patience."
Tom Kristensen (#1): "The pole position is very important here at Sears Point because there are hardly any straights on which to overtake. After the start, we accelerate into a fast left hand corner - you have to be at the front at that moment."
Frank Biela (#2): "I'm a little bit angry because on my fastest lap I didn't get the hairpin perfect. Of course I would have liked to stay on pole position but now I hope we can make up for it during the race."
Emanuele Pirro (#2): "The most important thing is that we have a perfect set up for the race. But it is very hard to overtake, so we try to get in front right after the start."
Johnny Herbert (#38): "We have a much better balance now and I believe it will be an ideal set up for the race and will enable us to be consistent throughout. I'm hoping that with the way that we set up our car, we'll be able to keep up the pressure."
Andy Wallace (#38): "We've chosen a tire that should be good in the race. It was possibly a little too hard for qualifying as I was sliding around too much but there was no way I could have matched Dindo's time - that was a stunning lap."
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport: "Today it was not possible to come up to the times of last year. The track seems to be slower. I am very satisfied with the result of qualifying with the three Audi racers at the front. The performance of the Panoz is a little disappointing because they had previously set similar times to us but it seems they had problems in qualifying."
Reinhold Joest, Team Director Audi Sport North America: "The grip on the track is not as good as last year therefore the times were slightly slower. Overall, I'm satisfied with our times and positions. If our two cars are in front of our opponents leading the race then it will become a thrilling duel between our two R8's because there will be no team orders." <pre> Starting grid at Sears Point
1. Capello/Kristensen (Infineon Audi R8) 1:21.745 2. Biela/Pirro (Infineon Audi R8) 1: 22.422 3. Wallace/Herbert (Audi R8) 1:22.962 4. Magnussen/Brabham (Panoz) 1:23.110 5. Tinseau/Collard (Cadillac) 1:23.768 6. Taylor/Angelelli (Cadillac) 1:23.801 7. Field/Sutherland (Lola) 1:25.232 8. Graf/Lagorce (Panoz) 1:28.645 9. Konrad/Borcheller (Saleen) 1:30.924 10. Duno/Graham/de Radigues (Reynard) 1:31.271
ALMS LMP900 Drivers Points 1. Rinaldo Capello Audi 59 2. Tom Kristensen Audi 54 3. Emanuele Pirro Audi 50 4. Frank Biela Audi 49 5. Andy Wallace Audi 42
ALMS LMP 900 Manufacturer Standings 1. Audi 55 2. Panoz 36 3. Lola 20 4. Riley & Scott 19 5. Courage 18