BOWMANVILLE, Ont., Canada (August 18, 2001) -- Audi returned to the top of the American Le Mans Series heap Saturday when Rinaldo Capello grabbed the pole position for Sunday's GT3 Grand Prix at Mosport International Raceway. Meanwhile, three...
BOWMANVILLE, Ont., Canada (August 18, 2001) -- Audi returned to the top of the American Le Mans Series heap Saturday when Rinaldo Capello grabbed the pole position for Sunday's GT3 Grand Prix at Mosport International Raceway.
Meanwhile, three cars that had qualified for the race, including two class pole winners, failed to pass post-qualifying inspection and had their times disallowed. The three will start at the rear of Sunday's race.
The cars included the Reynard 01Q-Judd of apparent LMP 675 pole winner Didier de Radigues, which did not conform to regulations in the rear diffuser, and the BMW M3 GTR of apparent GT pole winner JJ Lehto, which did not meet the minimum ride height regulations.
Female driver Claudia Huertgen of Germany inherited the LMP 675 pole position, her second in the ALMS, and Lehto's teammate, Dirk Muller, inherited the GT pole.
In addition, the Riley & Scott MkIIIC-Lincoln Prototype driven by Butch Leitzinger, which had apparently qualified fifth-fastest, had its time disallowed for a wing height violation and for having an engine air source that did not meet regulations.
Also Saturday, ALMS driver Bill Auberlen suffered a concussion when his BMW M3 GTR slammed into a tire barrier in turn nine after tangling with the Cadillac LMP 01 driven by Max Angelelli. Auberlen was released from a local hospital, but will not drive in Sunday's race. The team was still seeking a replacement driver late Saturday night.
Capello, leader of the ALMS points, turned the 2.459-mile circuit at 129.759 mph (1:08.222), breaking the track record of 129.361 that Audi teammate Frank Biela had set in 2000. Capello will co-drive with Tom Kristensen of Denmark in Sunday's two-hour, 45-minute timed event.
The stranglehold that Audi had held on the sports car endurance racing series was snapped in the most recent series race at Portland, Ore., two weeks ago when a Panoz beat the Audis in both qualifying and the race, ending Audi's 11-race winning streak.
"We made some adjustments this morning after practice," said Capello. "I set a fast lap time in practice after lunch. I was worried that I couldn't trust the car in the corners, but I checked the telemetry and saw that everything was OK and that gave me confidence."
Biela and co-driver Emanuele Pirro will start second Sunday, while Portland winners David Brabham and Jan Magnussen will line up third.
Huertgen, who will co-drive with American Steven Knight in a Lola B2K-Nissan, also was the fastest LMP 675 qualifier earlier this year at Sebring. "It's my first time to race at Mosport," she said. "We have been working on setup and I'm happy with the time. Mosport is a difficult track, but we have a good race setup."
Terry Borcheller of Phoenix was the fastest qualifier in the GTS class, driving a Saleen S7R to a speed of 114.831. He will co-drive with Germany's Franz Konrad. He beat Canadian favorite Ron Fellows, whose Chevrolet Corvette C5-R experienced clutch problems in qualifying and will have to start near the rear of the 26-car field.
"I know it was important for Ron and Corvette, but especially Ron, to do well here," said Borcheller, who won his second pole of the season. "I felt bad because he didn't have a chance to run for the pole. I didn't have a good lap, so he probably would have pulled it off. I'm sure he will be up in the front quickly in the race."
"Starting position doesn't matter," said Fellows, who has teamed with Johnny O'Connell to win GTS in three of the four ALMS races this year. "We know we have a good car. Being in the back is not a big deal. It's exciting for the locals."
Muller has won more poles (13) than any driver in any class in the three-year history of the ALMS.
Sunday's race will start at 1 p.m. (EDT) and will be televised live by NBC Sports. The live broadcast of the American Le Mans Series Radio Web can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com.