Pirro beats flu to win pole at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. MONTEREY, Calif. (September 21, 2002) -- Emanuele Pirro, battling flu-like symptons, won the pole for Sunday's American Le Mans Series Monterey Sports Car Championships event at Mazda ...
Pirro beats flu to win pole at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
MONTEREY, Calif. (September 21, 2002) -- Emanuele Pirro, battling flu-like symptons, won the pole for Sunday's American Le Mans Series Monterey Sports Car Championships event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The Italian, driving the Audi Sport North America Audi R8 Prototype that he will co-drive with Frank Biela of Germany, turned a fast lap of 106.339 mph (1:15.756) on the 2.238-mile track to lead qualifying. The race will be Pirro's first since he was briefly knocked unconscious in a crash in the most recent series event at Mosport International Raceway near Toronto on August 18.
"It feels good to win the pole," said Pirro, who was the series champion last year. "I wasn't feeling very well this morning and this helps."
The second factory Audi co-driven by Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello will start second, with the Cadillac Northstar LMP 02 of JJ Lehto and Max Angelelli to start third. The sports cars will have a timed event of two hours and 45 minutes on the 11-turn track.
James Weaver of England won his first pole position in the ALMS by leading qualifying in the LMP 675 class for smaller Prototypes. Weaver drove Dyson Racing's new Lola EX257-MG that he will share with Butch Leitzinger of State College, Penn. The team only recently switched to the LMP 675 class after having run LMP 900 for the past three years.
"Our car is definitely good enough to win the class now," said Weaver, a longtime veteran of sports car racing who has never won a race in the ALMS. "Our boys on the team are pumped about it and very, very excited. It's a beautiful little car, very nicely engineered, and they enjoy working on it. So we've got a bright future with it."
Tomas Enge of the Czech Republic, in the Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello he will share with Peter Kox of The Netherlands, won the pole for the GTS class. The Formula 3000 champion will make only his fourth ALMS start as the team seeks to become the first to beat the two-car factory Corvette squad in ALMS competition this year.
"I'm really happy to be here and really happy to have done the pole position," said Enge. "This circuit is very challenging, especially for newcomers. This is a great car and we came to the states because we have unfinished business after Sebring and Le Mans. We beat the dominant, great Corvette car, and we beat the Saleen as well. That's good for us and good for the spectators."
Lucas Luhr, who will co-drive with fellow German Sascha Maassen, won the GT class pole in the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS. "It's my third time here and I really like it," said Luhr. "It's one of my favorite tracks so it just feels like it belongs to me."
The race will be televised live by NBC Sports beginning at 4 p.m. (EDT). The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.