Audi R10 TDI fastest LM P1 at Lime Rock Allan McNish in pole position in LM P1 class Qualifying cancelled due to rain Starting grid based on free practice results Team Audi Sport North America's pair of Audi R10 TDI sports cars will start ...
Audi R10 TDI fastest LM P1 at Lime Rock
Allan McNish in pole position in LM P1 class Qualifying cancelled due to rain Starting grid based on free practice results Team Audi Sport North America's pair of Audi R10 TDI sports cars will start Saturday's sixth round of the American Le Mans Series at Lime Rock (US state of Connecticut) as the fastest cars of the LM P1 category from the fourth row of the grid. Allan McNish (Scotland) secured the LM P1 pole position for Audi.
Following strong rainfall, Friday's qualifying session was cancelled and the starting grid based on the results of the morning practice -- a session Team Audi Sport North America had used for working on the set-up of the two cars. The starting grid thus does not reflect entirely the true scenario.
The Audi drivers, however, are facing a difficult task in Saturday's race (start at 3:05 p.m. local time, 21:05 p.m. in Germany). The 2.462-kilometers (1.530-miles) track, the shortest on the American Le Mans Series' schedule, is extremely bumpy and offers poor grip. The LM P1 cars, due to the higher weight stipulated by the regulations, have more to fight with this than the 150-kilograms lighter prototypes from the LM P2 category.
Despite that, Audi captured the overall win at Lime Rock with the legendary R8 in the previous three years. However, the experience gained with the most successful Le Mans Prototype of all time can not really be transfered to the Audi R10 TDI which had its first-ever laps at Lime Rock in testing on Tuesday. With Team Audi Sport North America starting almost from scratch on this track, Friday's changing weather conditions made the task even more difficult.
Quotes after practice
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "This has been a day full of work. Unfortunately we did not find a set-up which pleased the drivers in the first practice session which affected the lap-times. For the second practice we worked out a programme which we could almost complete despite the rain. Because the qualifying was cancelled we will start the race from an unpleasent position. But I'm convinced that we will have two cars tomorrow that will perform better than in the first practice."
Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #1): "It's a shame we didn't get the opportunity to improve our morning practice session position. We were working through car set-up and so were not concentrating on 'qualifying' lap times. But we have to live with this now. The LM P2 cars have a much faster pace here in the dry. Despite rain might be better for uns, I want teh race to be dry. Rain would be a nightmare on this track. Our main goal is to win the LM P1 class in order to defend our championship lead. The rest we'll see."
Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #1): "It was a shame qualifying was cancelled due to intense rain. It's apparent that the circuit's characteristics do not favour the R10 TDI. We were working through a programme to get the best set up for this track. Although we'll have a well-balanced car for the race, I don't believe we'd have had a car that could have challenged for a top grid position even in dry conditions. For the race I hope wen can be as competitive as we can be."
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Personally I had not much driving time today. Our main goal was to make the car drivable allowing us to come good through the race. The track is very very bumpy. This makes it especially difficult for the heavier LM P1 cars. It looks like we've found a good set-up which should work in tomorrow's race. However, it will be difficult to fight for the overall victory."
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #2): "We were not able to complete our programme exactly to our liking because the weather did not play into our hands. We made a change in the second practice session which felt good, but due to the rain we could not translate it into a lap-time. The risk to destroy the car is just too big on this track. So, a little question mark has been left for tomorrow. I hope the warm-up will be dry."
Dave Maraj (Team Director Audi Sport North America): "This has been an unusual day. The qualifying was cancelled, and unfortunately the results of the practice session counted for the grid we struggled most. We would have been closer to the top if it would have been dry in the afternoon. Now we start quite far back and have to make the best out of it."