Sears Point qualifying day one

The rivalry between Australia's David Brabham and Scotland's Allan McNish looks set to continue in California this weekend when the pair claimed the provision front row in qualifying for round five of the Le Mans Series at Sears Point ...

The rivalry between Australia's David Brabham and Scotland's Allan McNish looks set to continue in California this weekend when the pair claimed the provision front row in qualifying for round five of the Le Mans Series at Sears Point overnight.

McNish held the upper hand in his Audi R8, stopping the clocks at 1 min 22.006 sec around the twisty Sears Point layout north of San Francisco.

Brabham and McNish have been chief sparring partners since 1989 when the Australian defeated the Scotsman to win the British Formula 3 Championship.

The duo also fought out a great dog-fight in the opening hour of this year's Le Mans 24 Hour.

Teamed with Jan Magnussen, Brabham improved in the final stages of qualifying to move from third to second ahead of the other Audi of Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela.

The second Panoz of Johnny O'Connell/Hiroki Katoh was fourth fastest ahead of the first of the BMWs of JJ Lehto and championship leader Jorg Muller.

Despite the fact the teams were enjoying warm weather after the downpour in Germany, McNish still found the track conditions challenging.

"This session was more slippery than this morning," he said.

"Due to the heat and wind, the track was getting a little dusty. I will probably have to go faster in the final session on Saturday.

"Qualifying is very important for the race with traffic and the nature of the circuit. You need to get out in the lead early so you can dictate the strategy."

McNish and team-mate Rinaldo Capello are yet to claim victory in this year's series. The Scotsman crashed his Audi out of the race at the last round at the Nurburgring.

Karl Wendlinger and Olivier Beretta are looking strong to complete their fifth consecutive victory in the GTS class after setting the fastest time today.

The two ex-Formula One drivers headed their Dodge Viper team-mates Tommy Archer and David Donohue.

BMW bounced back in the GT division to claim the top two spots in qualifying with the Brian Cunningham, Nic Jonsson car setting the pace.

<pre> QUALIFYING - PROTOTYPE DIVISION 1. - Alan McNish/Rinaldo Capello - Audi - 1:22.006 2. - David Brabham/Jan Magnussen - Panoz - 1:22.371 3. - Frank Biela/Emanuele Pirro - Audi - 1:22.374 4 - Johnny O'Connell/Hiroki Katoh - Panoz - 1:22.924 5. - JJ Lehto/Jorg Muller - BMW - 1:23.690 GTS DIVISION 1. - Karl Wendlinger/Olivier Beretta - Dodge Viper - 1:32.779 GT DIVISION 1. - Brian Cunningham/Nic Jonsson - BMW M3 - 1:36.145

- Paul Ryan

2000 Le Mans Series Adelaide's Race of a Thousand Years - December 31, 2000

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Nic Jönsson