CAPELLO PUTS AUDI ON MOSPORT POLE POSITION Dindo Capello beat the computer. The Italian sports car ace defied Audi's computer simulation Saturday and put Audi Sport North America's No. 1 Audi R10 TDI on the overall pole for Sunday's Mobil 1 ...
CAPELLO PUTS AUDI ON MOSPORT POLE POSITION
Dindo Capello beat the computer. The Italian sports car ace defied Audi's computer simulation Saturday and put Audi Sport North America's No. 1 Audi R10 TDI on the overall pole for Sunday's Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport.
Capello posted the fastest lap in Mosport's 46-year history, a sparkling time of 1:05.829 for his fourth LMP1 pole position of the season and first overall pole since the 2001 season. He edged out Penske Motorsports' Romain Dumas by 0.09 seconds in the No. 7 Porsche RS Spyder, the LMP2 pole-winner. Frank Biela was the former record-holder with a lap of 1:07.169.
"I was surprised how good the grip was in the first two runs," Capello said. "I didn't push so much these practices because I never got to try new tires. And during the first run I found the grip was very good. I made a good decision to come in and ask the engineers if I could swap the rear tires because I was having trouble in the really slow corners. Then when I went back out I tried hard and found I could push hard so I ran like hell and got a great lap."
Capello and Allan McNish will try to score their second Mosport win in a row and third of their careers. Capello will be going for his fourth career victory in Canada.
The 20-minute prototype qualifying session was packed with excitement. The top six cars were within 0.599 seconds of each other, a mix of heavier but more powerful P1 cars and the lighter but more nimble P2 entries. This round went to the bigger Audi prototype, much to Capello's surprise.
"It felt great because the simulation said the Porsches would be one tenth quicker but I beat the simulation so it is great accomplishment for us," Capello said.
Emanuele Pirro will start third overall and second in P1 after a qualifying lap of 1:06.010 to best the other Penske Porsche of Ryan Briscoe. So the inside two rows will have the two diesel-powered Audis with the E10-powered Porsches to their outside.
Dumas said that is where the Porsches expected to be at the start. The Frenchman maintained the focus of the Penske team is to win the P2 class.
"For sure it was a good lap. I knew we could do something about the Audi," said Dumas, who is teaming with fellow championship leader Timo Bernhard. "We are trying to be first in class but it is always good to have a fight. We will be pushing hard tomorrow to be in the fight."
Andretti Green Racing's Bryan Herta was the fastest Acura driver and qualified the team's No. 26 Acura ARX third in P2 and fifth overall at 1:06.249.
Dumas shattered James Weaver's previous record of 1:07.906 set in 2003 aboard Dyson Racing's Lola LMP675 entry. Record performances are nothing new for Penske, Porsche and the duo of Dumas and Bernhard. Penske has taken the overall race win at the last six Series events dating back to St. Petersburg in March.
Given the speed of the cars at Mosport (Capello's pole speed was 134.476 mph), Dumas said maintaining momentum through Mosport's fast and sweeping corners will be the key.
"After a few laps the tires go down, and if you lose a little bit of confidence it can be a real killer," Dumas said. "If you lift a little in corner two, then it's corner three and four and five and by the end its five to eight tenths you have lost."
Oliver Gavin took the top spot in GT1 for Corvette Racing. The English factory pilot turned a lap of 1:13.857 in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R and beat out local hero Ron Fellows, making his final Mosport start for Corvette Racing, by 0.148 seconds. The No. 3 entry of Johnny O'Connell and Jan Magnussen will start third in class after O'Connell's lap of 1:14.097.
"I don't think I'm very popular here," Gavin cracked. "I'm going to wear a mask or bag over my head. No one gets preferential treatment here. Everyone is given the same car. All the data is going back and forth between all three cars. It's great to see the white car around here and it should bring more fans in. Ron has been around here for so long and I think he may have a couple of tricks up his sleeve."
Gavin's record of 1:13.317 from 2005 was the only class record that wasn't broken Saturday. He and teammate Olivier Beretta have won seven of the eight rounds and the last four in a row to build their championship lead.
Traffic played a bit of a role in the outcome of qualifying, Gavin said. He had relatively clean laps while Fellows got caught a couple of times behind slower cars.
"The traffic didn't affect me as much as it did Ron," Gavin said. "It's still a great track and an amazing place to qualify. Having new tires and low fuel is always a lot of fun here. The corners are fun because they are so quick. I'm pleased I had this one."
Jaime Melo captured his fourth GT2 pole of the season and seventh over the course of the past two seasons with a record-breaking run in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT. Melo and Mika Salo are the class championship leaders with five victories this season and are making their first appearance at Mosport.
"I didn't expect to be as quick because we had some problems in the first practice," Melo said. "We had some oversteer, rear instability in the corners, and couldn't seem to fix it. We have a very good car for qualifying but it may not be the best car for the race. We don't have so much downforce and it becomes difficult to get the right line."
Melo's lap set a GT2 record at Mosport but as at every other Series venue, the GT2 cars will have to concentrate on faster GT1 cars and prototypes going past while
"The traffic will be difficult because of the speed of the prototypes," Salo said. "There's obviously the speed difference at all tracks, but here they will have much more down force so they'll be able to better carry their speed through the corners which we can't."
Last year's race saw Risi finish 1-2 for the first time in the Series, and the qualifying session hinted that it could happen again. Gianmaria Bruni was second at 1:18.339, a little less than a half second behind the sister car.
Ferraris held the top three positions as it looks to strengthen its hold on the class manufacturer championship. Dirk Muller was third at 1:18.432 for Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing, 0.62 seconds ahead of Tafel Racing's Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Mobil 1 presents Grand Prix of Mosport from Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. The race will start at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 26 and will be broadcast live on SPEED. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA's Live Timing and Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.