Rain in the Las Vegas desert

The normally dry Nevada desert nearly provided a major upset in opening qualifying for round 11 of the 2000 Le Mans Series at Las Vegas with rain nearly putting a GTS car on pole ahead of the Prototypes. With the GTS and GT qualifying session...

The normally dry Nevada desert nearly provided a major upset in opening qualifying for round 11 of the 2000 Le Mans Series at Las Vegas with rain nearly putting a GTS car on pole ahead of the Prototypes.

With the GTS and GT qualifying session run in dry conditions earlier in the day, Ron Fellows and Andy Pilgrim held the fastest time of the day when rain fell just prior to the start of the Prototype qualifying session.

With fifteen minutes remaining in the session, the Corvette drivers were still at the top of the timesheet. Only drying conditions towards the end of qualifying permitted three cars to record faster times, including series points leader Allan McNish aboard the Audi R8.

"I might have had dreams of leading one lap," Fellow said at the end of the session.

"A 1:12 in those conditions by McNish is pretty impressive. But we need to worry about our own race."

Jan Magnussen and Australia's David Brabham were second fastest aboard the Panoz ahead of the other Audi of Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro.

"It was good fun out there trying to find the lines where the most grip was, although the conditions changed a lot from the start to the finish. We had a massive misfire on our car the whole session, although the car was working well otherwise," Magnussen said.

"It would be better on this track if it was dry as it's very greasy when its damp, but I like driving in the wet so we'll have to wait and see what comes tomorrow."

BMW's hopes staying in the hunt for the driver's title chances got off to a disastrous start with both cars crashing in the morning practice session.

Both cars made it out for qualifying but neither the JJ Lehto/Jorg Muller or Bill Auberlen/Jean Marc-Gounon cars were able to get a good lap as the conditions dried.

"The crew did an excellent job getting the cars together, and they ran fine," Auberlen said.

"The track was in a real state of 'Is it dry? Is it wet?' We should have a better day tomorrow. The weather should clear up so it will be just a one-tire qualifying session. We should be in good shape."

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Jan Magnussen , Allan McNish , Frank Biela , Ron Fellows , Andy Pilgrim , Jorg Muller , Bill Auberlen , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto