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  Archive of Audi R8 Race Reports/News/Photos 2002  

Audi R8  2001  -  2002  -  2003  -  2004  -  2005  -  2006

  ALMS Sears Point    

Qualifying (First ALMS Pole for ADT/Champion)


SONOMA, Calif. (May 18, 2002) – Tom Kristensen waited for the right opportunity and then nailed a flying lap in the ADT/Champion Audi R8 to take the pole for Sunday’s American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Fosters at Sears Point Raceway.

Kristensen, on loan from the factory Audi team for this event, turned a lap of 1:22.615 (110.246 mph) on the 2.53-mile, 12-turn circuit, establishing a track record on the recently reconfigured circuit. His fast lap came after he drove slowly on the track for a few moments, waiting for traffic to clear during the 20-minute qualifying session.

Champion Motors Founder and President, Dave Maraj, said, "I just want to thank Tom for his amazing effort, and for bringing Champion our first ALMS Pole. We knew it would be tough to beat the factory team in qualifying, because the 2000 model R8 is particularly well suited to the Sears Point track." Team Joest are racing Champion's 2000-spec R8 at Sears Pt. this weekend, while their 2002 cars are prepared for Le Mans.

ADT/Champion Technical Director, Brad Kettler, said, "I'm really pleased. The whole team has been working very hard, and Tom came through when it counted. But I'm just glad qualifying is over."

"We had to do some regearing, making fifth a little taller since sixth gear is not really required here. We had the usual understeer problems during practice, and tried out some very large front dive planes, but they proved to be too pitch sensitive on the uphill-downhill Sears layout, so we've gone back to dual smaller dive planes. Tire choice is also critical for this race, because of the cool weather."

Kristensen, though happy to win the pole, feels that his team and the factory team will be at a disadvantage in Sunday’s two-hour, 45-minute event because both teams are using three drivers. “We will have to make an extra driver change, and that will cost us some time,” he said. “If some of the other cars with two drivers can stay close, they will have an advantage.”

Kristensen will co-drive with Andy Wallace and with Johnny Herbert, assuming Herbert arrives at the track in time. The former Formula One star is attempting to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday and will travel to Sears Point by private jet in hope of driving the final stint in the race, thus protecting his drivers championship points standing. Herbert is currently second in drivers points, behind factory pilot Rinaldo Capello.

Sunday’s race starts at 1 p.m. (PDT) and will be televised live by the SPEED Channel. Live coverage by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web can be heard online at
www.imsaracing.net, which will also provide live timing and scoring via the Internet.

Tom Kristensen on his Pole-winning lap at Sears Point
Beal and Boone ready to gas up
ADT/Champion R8 crew service the car during practice
Bernd and Marcus crunch the numbers during Saturday practice
Andy Wallace waiting to go out during midday practice
First ALMS Pole for ADT/Champion Racing
Andy flying through the Carousel during morning practice
Tom Kristensen on his Pole-winning lap at Sears Point
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