Close fight in Portland

Aussie star David Brabham was unlucky not to break the dominance of the Audi in final qualifying for round eight of the Le Mans Series at Portland today. Audi's Rinaldo Capello set pole in the car he is sharing with Alan McNish, but Audi ...

Aussie star David Brabham was unlucky not to break the dominance of the Audi in final qualifying for round eight of the Le Mans Series at Portland today.

Audi's Rinaldo Capello set pole in the car he is sharing with Alan McNish, but Audi team-mates Frank Biela/Emanuele Pirro and the Brabham/Jan Magnussen Panoz were both right on Capello's tail.

"We made a set-up change before qualifying and the car didn't feel quite as good as I'd have liked but I managed to pull a good lap out," Brabham said.

"I then made another set up change which improved the car but by then I had lost the best of the tires and lost rear grip as a result.

"We probably could have been on for pole but we're not that far away. I thought we could close the gap a bit here at Portland but didn't know it was going to be that close!"

Capello was pleased to grab pole position which eclipsed the previous track record for the Portland circuit.

"It wasn't easy to break the old record," said Capello.

"The track was very slippery with not a lot of grip, so I was quite surprised."

Brabham's team-mates Johnny O'Connell and Hiroki Katoh were fourth fastest while the Lola of Mimmo Schiattarella and ex-500cc Grand Prix rider Didier de Radigues were fifth.

The BMW squad however, were disappointed with the day, only qualifying sixth and eighth despite recently testing at the circuit.

"We did the same times that we did in the test here, but we didn't do any better. Our car is so difficult to drive," BMW driverJJ Lehto said.

"The car is not producing grip, it's only the tyre that's giving us a certain amount for a little while. Tomorrow will be difficult."

Karl Wendlinger and Olivier Beretta set the fastest time in the GTS division, outpacing their team-mates Tommy Archer and David Donohue - both aboard the ORECA Dodge Viper GTS machines.

The Dirk Muller/Lucas Luhr Porsche GT3-R was back on the pace in the GT class. The Dick Barbour Racing duo set pole ahead of team-mates Sascha Maassen and Bob Wollek.

BMW GT driver Hans Stuck is absent from the German squad this weekend while he recovers from an injury to the third vertebrae in his neck. <pre> QUALIFYING - PROTOTYPE DIVISION 1. - Rinaldo Capello/Alan McNish - Audi - 1:04.312 2. - Frank Biela/Emanuele Pirro - Audi - 1:04.387 3. - David Brabham/Jan Magnussen - Panoz - 1:04.503 4. - Johnny O'Connell/Hiroki Katoh - Panoz - 1:05.309 5. - Mimmo Schiattarella/Didier de Radigues - Lola - 1:05.394 GTS DIVISION 1. - Karl Wendlinger/Olivier Beretta - Dodge Viper - 1:12.300 GT DIVISION 1. - Dirk Muller/Lucas Luhr - Porsche GT3-R - 1:15.200

-Paul ryan

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Rinaldo Capello , Didier de Radigues , Dirk Müller , Jan Magnussen , Frank Biela , Karl Wendlinger , Johnny O'Connell , Tommy Archer , David Donohue , Dick Barbour , Hiroki Katoh , Mimmo Schiattarella , Olivier Beretta , Bob Wollek , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto