Monza: Audi qualifying report

Audi R10 TDI at Monza debut on second row Ingolstadt/Monza -- The two Audi R10 TDI cars fielded by Audi Sport Team Joest will start to the 1000-kilometre race at Monza (Italy) from the second row on Sunday. Local hero Dindo Capello set the ...

Audi R10 TDI at Monza debut on second row

Ingolstadt/Monza -- The two Audi R10 TDI cars fielded by Audi Sport Team Joest will start to the 1000-kilometre race at Monza (Italy) from the second row on Sunday. Local hero Dindo Capello set the third-best time in Saturday's qualifying. Team-mate Mike Rockenfeller was merely 137 thousandths of a second slower and captured fourth place on the grid.

Capello's motivation for his "home race" is particularly high: exactly 20 years ago the Italian won the "Gran Premio della Lotteria", a very important Formula 3 race back then. Capello set his quickest time as early as on his first flying lap of qualifying before being slowed by other cars.

Youngster Mike Rockenfeller in the sister car came close to the time set by his more seasoned team-mate. However, a small mistake in the Ascari chicane cost him crucial fractions of a second.

Both Audi drivers in qualifying clearly stayed below last year's pole time (1m 34.503s), below which the best Peugeot was clocked by more than three seconds -- giving proof yet again of the breath-taking speed of technological development in the prototype category.

The second round of the European Le Mans Series will start on Sunday at 12:50 local time, leading over a distance of 173 laps. Eurosport will air live coverage of the starting phase from 12:45 till 1:15 p.m. from Monza and a summary report at night, starting at 11 p.m. For Audi Sport Team Joest and the R10 TDI, this is the first competition at Monza.

Quotes after qualifying at Monza

Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #1): "My first lap was the fastest one because on the second -- which was better up to that point in time -- I got caught in traffic. But more than two, three tenths of a second wouldn't have been possible and for pole it definitely wouldn't have been enough. It'll be a difficult race for us. We need to stay close to the Peugeots and hope for a good strategy and quick pit stops."

Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #1): "In the free practice sessions we found a pretty good balance and worked on our performance. Dindo and Rocky made the maximum in qualifying. Like at Sebring and Barcelona, Peugeot is a bit quicker. This means it'll be a pretty tough race for us."

Alexandre Premat (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Rocky did a great job in qualifying. We're hoping for a similarly good race as at Barcelona. For us, it's primarily about seeing the chequered flag, because with only four more races to go, every point counts in the LMS. Particularly here at Monza it's not so easy to get through a race without any problems. The race track is narrow, you've got to be careful when overtaking and mustn't risk too much. If everything works out, we can finish on the podium again. I'm looking forward to the race."

Mike Rockenfeller (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Of course I'd have liked to beat Dindo (Capello) at his home race in qualifying. It was very close, but in the Ascari chicane I made a small mistake. Still, I believe we can be satisfied. Our R10 TDI feels good. I'm convinced we've got a safe car for the race. If we manage a consistent, smooth race, we can score a lot of points, as we did at Barcelona. And that's our goal."

Ralf Juttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): "So far, we've driven here without any major problems. On Friday we had slight difficulties with brake temperatures at the rear axle. That's under control now. We're well set for the race, even though the time gap to Peugeot is big. But I do think that, like at Barcelona, we'll be closer to them in the race than in qualifying. Our two cars have a similar speed level. Our youngsters are catching up. That's good because it means we've got two cars with which we can attack tomorrow. And we've got to do that, too. I'm hoping for a thrilling race without any technical problems."

-credit: audi

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Allan McNish , Alexandre Prémat , Mike Rockenfeller , Dindo Capello , Ralf Juttner
Teams Team Joest