Small mistakes prevent Audi triumph o Audi R10 TDI fastest car at Lime Rock o Time-penatly and accident cost Audi possible outright win o Luhr/Werner victorious again in LM P1 class Ingolstadt/Lime Rock -- Small errors, big...
Small mistakes prevent Audi triumph
o Audi R10 TDI fastest car at Lime Rock
o Time-penatly and accident cost Audi possible outright win
o Luhr/Werner victorious again in LM P1 class
Ingolstadt/Lime Rock -- Small errors, big impact. That is the bottom line for Audi after the fifth round of the American Le Mans Series at Lime Rock (U.S. state of Connecticut). In front of an impressive crowd, Audi's diesel sports car was the fastest car of the field. However, Team Audi Sport North America had to settle for fourth place overall and a victory in the LM P1 class after a thrilling race.
On the shortest track of the American Le Mans Series' schedule, the two Audi R10 TDI prototypes started from the fourth row of the grid. It took Emanuele Pirro and Lucas Luhr just ten minutes to overtake the Acura/Hondas and Porsches in front of them and take a 1-2 lead for Audi. Particularly impressive was the performance of Emanuele Pirro, who opened a commanding 20-second lead before he handed the R10 TDI over to Dindo Capello just before the end of the first hour.
At his comeback in the ALMS, the defending champion and Le Mans winner, however, enjoyed just eight laps before colliding with a slower GT1 car and crashing into the barrier in spectacular style. The strength of the R10 TDI allowed Capello to continue the race after a 40-minute repair and even setting the fastest race-lap in 48.007 seconds. However, even with a quick repair and good driving the best finish possible was 21st overall and 3rd in class.
Lucas Luhr needed just twelve laps to move from eighth to second place after a careful start with the "sister car". The German dropped back to position five temporarily after a spin. Despite the nose of the car being damaged, Luhr was already back in third position before handing the car over to Marco Werner.
A small mistake of the crew at the pit-stop resulted in a penalty: Because a mechanic had his goggles not properly fitted as requested by the regulations, a 25-second time penalty was imposed against the team which cost Luhr/Werner a lap and dropped them to position eight. Werner fought his way back to fourth place with fast lap times despite changing the nose during a caution period and having to pit for fuel just ten laps from the finish.
With their fourth class victory of the season, the two Audi drivers extended their lead in the LM P1 class of the American Le Mans Series. The next race is is taking place as early as next weekend at Mid-Ohio.
Quotes after the race at Lime Rock
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "The performance of the Audi R10 TDI was great, but unfortunately both the team and the drivers made mistakes that prevented us from scoring an adequately good result. Such errors simply may not happen because the competition in the American Le Mans Series is so strong. I hope that next week at Mid-Ohio everybody will concentrate on making an absolutely flawless job. Only then we can win."
Lucas Luhr (Audi R10 TDI #2): "This was a very exciting race. We had the speed to achieve much more today because we had the fastest car in the field. But if you don't have the necessary luck than you cannot win. This happened to us today. We lost a lap due to the penalty in the pits. The team did a great job afterwards and Marco (Werner) was really flying so we were able to get the lap back. Unfortunately there was no caution period at the right time. At least we've scored another class victory and we were stronger than expected on this track. However, I'm disappointed because there was more in the car. We simply have to make up for this next week at Mid-Ohio."
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #2): "This race belonged to Audi. In two respects: The number-1-car was well in front at the beginning, and we would also have had it in our hands, if ... we would not have got the 25-second penalty and not to refuel again shortly before the end of the race. We really had a good chance to win this race. Now it's a class victory and we have to be content with this. Virtually we came back from nowhere. But it's clear we had more in our hands."
Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #1): "I'm very disappointed because we had a car to win the race. Emanuele (Pirro) did a very good and fast first stint. When I got into the car I tried not to take any risks because I knew the car was fast. Regarding the accident I have to say that this year -- apart from Le Mans -- something is going wrong. I always seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong moment. I tried to be very careful and to stay away from any kind of contact. But suddenly I got a hit from behind. To be honest, I still don't know what happened. But I'm very confident for Mid-Ohio because our car was really fast."
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #1): "It is unfortunate. We had the superior car. Everything was looking great. Personally after a disappointing Le Mans I really enjoyed every single corner of this race. It was really looking good without taking any risks. Then the accident happened. This is racing. At this circuit normally we were not expecting to be that good. With this car we could easily win. Let's look at the positive side: We had a competitive race and I was very satisfied. "
Dave Maraj (Team Director Audi Sport North America): "The performance of the cars was extremely well. Unfortunately there were a couple of little errors by the drivers and one little error by the crew. That's why we lost the race. On such a short race track and with such a short race you cannot afford making any mistakes."