Road America, 11 August 2007
Audi R10 TDI the fastest car at Road America
Impressive performance of Audi TDI Power
Overall victory missed by just 1.783 seconds
Audi once more demonstrated the impressive performance of modern diesel engines in round eight of the American Le Mans Series at Road America (US state of Wisconsin): Both Audi R10 TDI sportscars were the dominating cars on the fastest track of the season, achieving another 1-2 victory in the LM P1 class. After a fierce inter-team battle, Dindo Capello/Allan McNish (Italy/Scotland) beat their team-mates Emanuele Pirro/Marco Werner (Italy/Germany) by just 0.796 seconds.
Team Audi Sport North America lost the fight for the overall victory by just 1.783 seconds to the fastest LM P2 car after the two R10 TDI sportscars had been in the lead for almost the entire four-hour distance. The longer pit-stops, caused by the regulations, and tyre issues cost Audi any chance of the possible outright victory.
In humid and hot conditions, the two Audi R10 TDI prototypes were easing away from the start before Allan McNish suffered a left rear puncture in one of the fastest parts of track 45 minutes into the race. Despite that, both diesel-powered sportscars held a commanding 1-2 lead when a thunderstorm caused a more than 60-minute long intervention of the Safety Car allowing the competition to close the gap.
In the final stages of the race, Team Audi Sport North America did not take any risk by not changing the tyres on both R10 TDI cars. This caused Dindo Capello and Emanuele Pirro to drop behind the two "factory" Porsches. The exciting final laps saw the two Audi drivers pass one of the two lighter LM P2 cars and almost completely cancel out a 18-second gap to the second "factory" Porsche. The race was decided on the penultimate lap when both R10 TDI cars hit slower traffic in the long "Carousel" section making them lose valuable seconds.
Quotes after the race
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Once again the Audi R10 TDI was the dominating LM P1 car and remains undefeated in its class. That we were not able to get the overall victory even on the fastest track of the American Le Mans Series shows once more that the weight difference between the LM P1 and the LM P2 cars is simply too big. On top of that comes the smaller fuel tank we must use compared to our opposition."
Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #1): "The final result was open until the very end. I enjoyed a close but fair fight with Emanuele (Pirro) in the closing stages and I felt that I was faster than him. Four laps from the end, I lost front end grip, making braking very difficult, but I still tried absolutely everything to catch the leading Porsche. But I hit some very bad traffic just two laps from the chequered flag and lost too much time and any chance of a race victory was gone from that moment."
Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #1): "Itís disappointing to have started from pole-position and ultimately finish second by less than two seconds having led much of the race despite two tyre issues when I was leading. I suppose I should be satisfied for winning the LM P1 class for the sixth time this season but as a racing driver, Iím never content to finish a race in second place overall. There was a very good possibility of us winning this race but it slipped away from us."
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #2): "I think we have driven a very strong race. Iím really proud of the job we did. Personally I enjoyed it very much in the rain and in the dry. I was fighting with Dindo (Capello) to the absolute limit. We were very close many times. We tried everything. Despite that we came out with a second and a third place. This is not what we are here for. But Iím not here to judge the rules."
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #2): "This was definitely a difficult race, also for me at the beginning. It doesnít make you confident if a team-mate in front of you has a tyre explode. I already had the same problem in practice. This was an alert signal for me. I reduced the speed a little bit in order to save the left rear tyre in the Carousel and the ĎKinkí. Despite that the pace was good. The rain finally destroyed our race. We were driving too long behind the Safety Car which put the field together. This is why we could not get the overall victory yet again. At the moment we are simply too slow in the pits due to the regulations."
Dave Maraj (Team Director Audi Sport North America): "It was an incredibly exciting race from start to finish but unfortunately we just missed out on an outright victory. The full course cautions did not do us any favours Ė we needed a Ďcleaní race to negate the disadvantage of our smaller fuel tank. The rain also didnít help but all four drivers drove incredibly well, in changeable and demanding conditions, while the Audi Sport North America pit crews played a major part in earning Audi yet another LM P1 class win."
The results at Road America
1 Dumas/Bernhard (Porsche) 96 laps in 4h 01m 17.701s
2 Capello/McNish (Audi R10 TDI) + 1.783s (1st in LM P1)
3 Pirro/Werner (Audi R10 TDI) + 2.489s (2nd in LM P1)
4 Maassen/Briscoe (Porsche) + 1m 00.727s
5 Brabham/Johansson (Acura/Honda) - 2 laps
6 Dyson/Smith (Porsche) - 2 laps
7 Wallace/Leitzinger (Porsche) - 2 laps
8 Fernandez/Diaz (Acura/Honda) - 2 laps
9 Herta/Franchitti (Acura/Honda) - 2 laps
10 Pickett/Graf (Lola-AER) - 5 laps (3rd in LM P2)