Mid-Ohio qualifying report

LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 24, 2001) -- Rewarding his crew for a hard week of work, Tom Kristensen won the pole Friday for Saturday's American Le Mans Series sports car endurance race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The Audi factory team rebuilt...

LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 24, 2001) -- Rewarding his crew for a hard week of work, Tom Kristensen won the pole Friday for Saturday's American Le Mans Series sports car endurance race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The Audi factory team rebuilt the R8 Prototype after it was crashed twice in last Sunday's race at Canada's Mosport International Raceway. Series point leader Rinaldo Capello crashed on the first lap of the race, and then Kristensen crashed it again later after it had been repaired.

"The team has done a fantastic job with the car," said Kristensen, from Denmark. "Unfortunately, they didn't get to see Niagra Falls on the way here from Toronto as everyone else did, but we're here with a good pole and it's very satisfying."

Kristensen and Capello will share the car in Saturday's two-hour, 45-minute event, the first race for the ALMS at Mid-Ohio. Capello has been on the winning team in three of the five ALMS races run this season, and Kristensen has won two. The pole was the first of his career on the ALMS.

The Panoz LMP1-RS of David Brabham and Jan Magnussen qualified second, followed by the second Audi factory car driven by Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro. Biela and Pirro won last week's race in Canada, while Magnussen and Brabham won the previous race at Portland, Ore.

"Sure I was going for the pole," said Brabham, who had been fastest in morning practice and fell only 4/10ths of a second short of Kristensen's time. "But the track wasn't as nice as it was this morning. The shift in temperatures obviously played a big part, but we're feeling pretty confident for the race. I think the whole team is really tweaked up this weekend to try and nail another one."

Didier de Radigues won his fourth consecutive pole in the LMP 675 class for smaller Prototypes in a Reynard 01Q-Judd that he will share with Bruno Lambert. The duo won last weekend at Mosport, and de Radigues had two other class wins prior to that event.

"I've never raced here before," said de Radigues, who credited NBC Sports pit reporter Calvin Fish for assisting him in learning the Mid-Ohio circuit. Fish, a former racer, runs a racing school at the track. "I spent some time with Calvin on Thursday and he gave me some tips." Terry Borcheller grabbed his third pole in the last four races in the GTS class in a Saleen S7R, despite a power steering problem that limited him to only a few fast laps. "I was sitting in the car while they were fixing the problem, and I was getting a little nervous because time was running out," he said. "But I got the best qualifying lap I've ever had because I didn't see another car the whole time. For the race, we should do well." He will co-drive with Franz Konrad.

The biggest surprise in qualifying was in the GT class, where the Porsche 911 GT3 RS of Sascha Maassen qualified fastest, breaking BMW's recent grip on the class for production-based cars. He will co-drive with fellow German Lucas Luhr.

"I didn't expect to be here (winning the pole)," said Maassen, who is tied with JJ Lehto for the GT class points lead in the series. "Yesterday (in practice), I crashed the car, and today I'm on the pole. We had great teamwork today."

The race will start at 1 p.m. (EDT) and will be televised live by NBC Sports beginning at 2 p.m. Live coverage by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com.

-ALMS

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Rinaldo Capello , Didier de Radigues , Tom Kristensen , Jan Magnussen , Franz Konrad , Bruno Lambert , Frank Biela , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Calvin Fish , Terry Borcheller , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto