Italian Rinaldo Capello continued his stunning run for Audi by claiming pole position overnight for the 24 Hours of Le Mans Â ousting team-mate Tom Kristensen by a mere 0.029 seconds. Capello is unbeaten in the Le Mans series this year. His...
Italian Rinaldo Capello continued his stunning run for Audi by claiming pole position overnight for the 24 Hours of Le Mans ousting team-mate Tom Kristensen by a mere 0.029 seconds.
Capello is unbeaten in the Le Mans series this year. His run actually started at Adelaide on New Year's Eve and he has gone on to capture race wins at Texas, Sebring, Donington and Jarama.
Teamed with Laurent Aiello and newcomer Christian Pescatori, Capello will head the pack on Saturday afternoon for the 4.00pm (local time) race start alongside Kristensen and fellow reigning Le Mans 24 Hour winners, Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela.
Audi actually earned a 1-2-3 result in qualifying with former Grand Prix star Johnny Herbert putting the privateer Champion team Audi in third spot.
Capello was thrilled with his performance and is hopeful of adding a victory at the Sarthe to his already impressive resume.
"On my qualifying lap I had to pass one slower car, the rest of the lap was almost clear," Capello said.
"But still I did not know how fast I was going because I could not see the time on my display in the car. I just tried to push until the end and had the feeling that it was a good lap.
"When I saw the time on the pit board I was really happy. It is a great feeling to have pole at Le Mans, because I like this race very much. I am only 0.029s ahead of Tom which means I was not really faster than him, just more lucky."
The Judd-powered Dome of Dutchman Jan Lammers spoiled the Audi party by putting his "Racing for Holland" machine in fourth spot pushing the Gulf Audi of Stefan Johansson back to 5th.
The top ten also included two Bentleys, a Cadillac, a Chrysler and a Courage prototype.
Australian David Brabham's co-driver Jan Magnussen improved overnight but could not put the Panoz any higher than 19th on the 48 car grid. Brabham however, remains upbeat for the French enduro.
"When I first went out in the car today it was quite unstable at the front end, but we changed the front splitter and it really improved the car," Brabham said.
"The balance of the car was a lot more stable and we now have a good solid platform for the race. You can now attack with the car with a lot more confidence."
Other class pole winners included Anthony Reid (MG LMP675), Oliver Gavin (Saleen GTS class) and a stunning performance from Cort Wager in the Calloway Corvette to oust Porsche in the GT division.
<pre> QUALIFYING 1. - Aiello/Capello/Pescatori - (Audi R8) - 3:32.429 2. - Biela/Kristensen/Pirro - (Audi R8) - 3:32.458 3. - Herbert/Kelleners/Theys - (Audi R8) - 3:34.349 4. - Lammers/Hillebrand/Crevels - (Dome-Judd) - 3:34.838 5. - Coronel/Johansson/Lemarie - (Audi R8) - 3:35.128 6. - Beretta/Wendlinger/Lamy - (Chrysler) - 3:36.155 7. - Brundle/Ortelli/Smith - (Bentley) - 3:36.535 8. - Wallace/Leitzinger/van de Poele - (Bentley) - 3:37.408 9. - Collard/Goossens/Bernard - (Cadillac) - 3:38.438 10. - Gache/Beltoise/Policand - (Courage-Judd) - 3:38.746