Road Atlanta McNish holds top spot

Tomorrow's third running of the endurance Le Mans Series classic - Road Atlanta's Petit Le Mans - is looming as a tough fight between Audi, Panoz and BMW. Scotland's Allan McNish held on to pole position today despite advances by David Brabham...

Tomorrow's third running of the endurance Le Mans Series classic - Road Atlanta's Petit Le Mans - is looming as a tough fight between Audi, Panoz and BMW.

Scotland's Allan McNish held on to pole position today despite advances by David Brabham and the Panoz squad.

Brabham split the two Audis in qualifying today, but Audi pilot Emanuele Pirro's time from yesterday kept him on the front row.

McNish is looking forward to tomorrow's event which will be staged over 10 hours or 1000 miles - whichever comes first.

"The course this afternoon is a bit slippery, especially through turns 3 and 4" McNish said.

"I'm happy with the car. Last night during practice we tried to make the car more comfortable.

"In the race tomorrow, the chance to lose time getting tangled with slower cars is always a real possibility.

"I think the race is going to be a very hard one. But we are prepared, we have a good car and a good team and the drivers are confident."

Despite Audi grabbing the front row, Brabham is confident of repeating his victory from last year despite battling breezy conditions today.

"I was pretty pleased with the lap, but the breeze was causing us a few problems because it was very windy across the back of the circuit," Brabham said.

"The wind was very strong as I came over the brow of the hill in turn three and the car got very light which made things tough when I was going for a quick lap."

BMW have shown improved pace during practice and qualifying and are also expected to be a strong threat while the four Cadillac entries may also be contenders over the race distance.

The dominance of the Dodge Viper squad in the GTS division is again under threat with the pair of Chevrolet Corvettes qualifying first and second with Ron Fellows taking the honours.

Dirk Muller took the GT pole aboard his Porsche he shares with regular co-driver Lucas Lur and Petit Le Mans recruit, reigning U.S. Formula Atlantic driver, Anthony Lazaro.

Hollywood hero Paul Newman will start from 12th in the GT division in the Porsche he shares with Randy Wares and Mike Brockman.

<pre> FINAL QUALIFYING - PROTOTYPE DIVISION 1. - Alan McNish/Rinaldo Capello/Michele Alboretto - Audi - 1:10.379 2. - Emanuele Pirro/Frank Biela/Tom Kristensen - Audi - 1:10.713 3. - David Brabham/Jan Magnussen - Panoz - 1:10.875 4. - JJ Lehto/Jorg Muller - BMW - 1:11.438 5. - Johnny O'Connell/Hiroki Katoh/Klaus Graf - Panoz - 1:12.060 GTS DIVISION 1. - Ron Fellows/Chris Kneifel/Justin Bell - Chevrolet Corvette - 1:18.632 GT DIVISION 1. - Dirk Muller/Lucas Luhr/Anthony Lazaro - Porsche GT3-R - 1:24.557

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Dirk Müller , Jan Magnussen , Allan McNish , Frank Biela , Chris Kneifel , Klaus Graf , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Jorg Muller , Justin Bell , Paul Newman , Hiroki Kato , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto