(Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada), 2 August --
In a race weekend condensed into just two days, Johnny Herbert set the
fastest time of official qualifying, and will start on the outside of
row for Saturday's three-hour American Le Mans race at this famous
The first day of action at Trois-Riveres began under rainy and dark
warm and muggy conditions. The ALMS cars took to a drying track in the
first of two practice sessions, with both Stefan Johansson and Johnny
taking turns working on the setup of the colorful 2001-spec Audi R8.
The second practice, just before lunch, saw intermittent rain showers,
drying and beginning to turn sunny near the end of the session. The ADT/Champion
Audi was third on the time sheets in both practice sessions, behind the
of 2002-spec Audis of Team Joest.
As Qualifying got underway at mid-afternoon, the weather had changed
and was sunny and very warm - completely different from the first two
making proper setup for Qualifying a bit of a gamble.
Herbert drew Qualifying duties, and was out early as the session began,
past a group of slower cars on the first lap, giving himself several
clear running before meeting up with slower traffic. Holding pole with a
of laps completed, Herbert's best time was bettered by Emanuele Pirro in
#1 Joest Audi, which took nearly a second off Herbert's time to claim
Herbert answered with his best lap of the session, but going into the
to last corner the Champion R8 suffered a freak failure that caused
to instantly slow, ruining a potential pole lap, and causing him to
pit for service. The R8's power steering fluid reservoir is built into
casing, and on the side of the casing is a sight glass for checking the
of power steering fluid. During Herbert's last hot lap, the glass window
the sight glass literally fell out, spewing power steering fluid into
side of the engine bay, though thankfully not catching fire on the hot
and turbo in that area.
But there was some good luck in the disappointment, as just as Herbert
another car crashed, covering the circuit with debris and bringing out a
flag with just minutes left in the session. As the Champion mechanics
to fix the fluid leak and clean up the mess, the session went green for
a final two minutes. The main challenger, Tom Kristensen, had gambled
till the end of the session to set a time. The abbreviated, timed
just as Kristensen finished his warmup lap, depriving him of a chance
time, though ensuring Herbert would not be dislodged from the front row.
No other damage was done in the incident and the colorful R8 was quickly
right. Johnny Herbert will start the three-hour race from the second
spot. The race will be televised live, flag-to-flag on SPEED Channel.
Results from ALMS Qualifying at Trois-Rivieres:
1 - Emanuele Pirro, Frank Biela; Audi R8 (LMP 900), 58.698sec,
2 - Johnny Herbert, Stefan Johansson; Audi R8 (LMP 900), 59.620, 91.842
20 - Rinaldo Capello, Tom Kristensen; Audi R8 (LMP 900), 1:08.637,