Trois-Rivieres: Qualifying notes

TROIS-RIVIERES, Qc., Canada (August 2, 2002) -- Audi driver Emanuele Pirro earned only the second pole of his American Le Mans Series career Friday in a bizarre qualifying session for Saturday's Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. Though Pirro's...

TROIS-RIVIERES, Qc., Canada (August 2, 2002) -- Audi driver Emanuele Pirro earned only the second pole of his American Le Mans Series career Friday in a bizarre qualifying session for Saturday's Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres.

Though Pirro's Audi R8 Prototype had been the fastest in two practice sessions earlier in the day, he was worried that teammate Tom Kristensen might beat him in the 20-minute qualifying session. However, Kristensen's gamble of waiting to the end of the session to run his laps backfired when the session was red-flagged because of an accident with just a few minutes remaining. Time expired before the wrecked LMP675 car of local driver Marc-Antoine Camirand could be removed from the track and the session ended with Pirro first.

Kristensen, who had only run a warmup lap, will have to start 20th in Saturday's three-hour event, the first American Le Mans Series race at the 1.52-mile temporary street circuit. Pirro's lap of 58.698 seconds was the fastest lap ever turned on the circuit.

The waiting strategy also affected the Panoz LMP-1 team of Jan Magnussen, who was also trying to make his fast lap when the session was halted. Magnussen, who will co-drive with David Brabham, will start seventh in the car that won the most recent ALMS race at Washington, D.C., two weeks ago.

Pirro, the 2001 American Le Mans Series champion, had won his only previous pole in 2001 for the 12 Hours of Sebring. He will co-drive with Frank Biela, while Kristensen will co-drive with Rinaldo Capello.

Chad Block, who only found out that he was racing here on Wednesday night, won the pole in the LMP 675 class for smaller Prototypes with a lap of 1:02.379. Block, winning the first pole of his ALMS career, will co-drive the KnightHawk Racing Lola EX257-AER MG with Steve Knight.

Ron Fellows continued his undefeated qualifying streak in the GTS class with his sixth pole of the season. A two-time Trans-Am Series race winner at Trois-Rivieres, Fellows also won the 13th pole of his ALMS career, tying him with Dirk Muller for the most poles of any kind in series history. He will co-drive a Chevrolet Corvette C5-R with Johnny O'Connell, the duo having won four of the five ALMS races held this season.

Lucas Luhr won his second GT class pole of the season in the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS. He will co-drive with Sascha Maassen as they seek their fourth win of the season.

Saturday's race will be televised live by SPEED Channel beginning at 2 p.m. (EDT). Live coverage by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com.

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Dirk Müller , Jan Magnussen , Frank Biela , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Marc-Antoine Camirand , Chad Block , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Steve Knight , Alex Job , Emanuele Pirro