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  Archive of Audi R8 Race Reports/News/Photos 2003  

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


Champion Racing  - 2003 Le Mans Qualifying


ADT/Champion Racing Nets Provisional Second-Row Position

11 June (Le Mans, France - First Practice Sessions) -- Emanuele Pirro claimed a provisional second row start position for this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans for Team ADT Champion Racing.  The reigning American Le Mans Series champion who is partnered by JJ Lehto and Stefan Johansson in the round-the-clock sportscar race, set the fourth fastest time in the opening qualifying sessions.

Pirro, who has triumphed at Le Mans for the last three years, stopped the clock at 3min 37.316secs, an average speed of 142.81mph, around the 8.48-mile track in the 2002-specification Audi R8.   Each drove during the four-hour opening time trials split in to two, two-hour sessions with a one-hour interval.

A minor brake problem restricted the Audi Sport North America-supported R8’s pace in the opening two hour test - Lehto setting the fifth quickest time (3:39.430) - but once resolved and benefiting from a drop in temperature on a very warm, humid night in France, Emanuele reeled off a series of fast laps.

The concluding four-hour qualifying session is staged tomorrow (THURS) night.  The 71st running of the legendary race in France roars in to action at 10am (ET) on Saturday.

Emanuele Pirro (41), of Italy:  “It was a good night with only a couple of minor problems which were easily solved.  I am also quite happy with my qualifying time - although I am determined to improve it tomorrow if the weather stays dry.”

JJ Lehto (36), of Finland:  “Everything went according to plan - it was a normal day in the ‘office’.  The one worry was the number of small stones lying on the track at various corners following incidents but then I guess it’s the same for everyone.”  

Stefan Johansson (46), of Sweden:  “There was a small brake problem early on but that was quickly resolved.  The Audi has performed well in race trim tonight and we’re looking in real good shape.” 

Brad Kettler, Champion Racing’s Technical Director:  “I’m very pleased with our evening’s work.  We got quicker and quicker during the night – we have a good base to work from for tomorrow and the race itself.”

Rod Bymaster, Audi Sport North America’s Motorsport Manager:  “It was a good, workmanlike performance.  I think that the racing times between the Bentleys and our Audi will be closer than in qualifying.  It’s shaping up to be a good race.”

Provisional Qualifying times after 2 of 4 Qualifying Practice sessions:

1) Kristensen/Capello/Smith, Bentley Speed 8, 3:32.843
2) Brabham/Herbert/Blundell Bentley Speed 8, 3:35.222
3) Biela/Salo/McCarthy, Audi R8, 3:37.076

4) Pirro/Lehto/Johansson Audi R8, 3:37.316
5) Lammers/Bosch/Wallace, Dome S101/Judd, 3:37.350
6) Ara/Magnussen/Werner, Audi R8, 3:37.691

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