Audi R10 TDI again on rows three and four - Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 22:34

Audi R10 TDI again on rows three and four

  • Close qualifying provides excitement near Salt Lake City
  • Werner takes LM P1 pole position


Ingolstadt/Salt Lake City – Team Audi Sport North America’s pair of Audi R10 TDI prototypes will start the fourth round of the American Le Mans Series at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City (US state of Utah), from rows three and four of the grid. By qualifying sixth overall, Marco Werner captured pole position in the LM P1 class for Audi. Frank Biela set the eighth fastest time.
Under gruelling heat, specators saw one of the most thrilling and closest qualifiyng sessions in the history of the US-based sports car series. The lead changed several times and the fastest nine prototypes were seperated by less than a second. Team Audi Sport North America showed a much stronger performance than in the previous year when the Audi R10 TDI lost almost three seconds in qualifying to the lighter LM P2 cars. This time the gap to pole position was just 0.540 seconds.
Frank Biela set a fastest time of 1m 31.797s right at the start of the session – the absolutely fastest lap of the weekend until this moment. In order to save the tyres for the race, Biela was called back into the pits after just two flying laps. After this, however, the track allowed improving lap times which eventually saw Biela dropping to eighth position.
Marco Werner began qualifying with less downforce, which did not allow him to match Biela’s time. Only after switching to aerodynamics with more downforce, the German was able to improve to 1m 31.590s and sixth place on the starting grid.
In the previous race at Long Beach, Audi also started from rows three and four before taking a 1-2 victory. The race at Salt Lake City begins on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. local time and runs for 2 hours 45 minutes.
Quotes after the qualifying Salt Lake City
Lucas Luhr (Audi R10 TDI #2):
"We went a little bit in the wrong direction with our setup. We corrected this in qualifying, however, only after the peak of the tyres had gone. Despite that: We are much closer to the front than last year. This will be an exciting race tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to it."
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #2): "We’ve been far away from this lap-time before qualifying. This means we’ve made a good step. Five tenth to the front are not much. I’m a bit angry that I did not insist on the change of the aerodynamcis before qualifying. I wanted to use the second version right from the beginning. Instead we started with the old version, after that the peak of the tyres had gone. Maybe it would have been possible to go five tenth faster on fresh tyres. Sixth place is disappointing. But we have made a good step forward for the race."
Frank Biela (Audi R10 TDI #1): "I had two flying laps, my lap time came on the second lap. I did not expect that the times would keep improving for such a long time – and obviously our race engineer didn’t expect this either. That’s why we stopped, certainly a little bit too early. The question is how much more would have been possible. I don’t believe it would have been possible to get onto the front row because my lap was good."
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #1): "I am optimistic for the race. The car is very good and very fast on full tanks. Everything looks good, just the position is not good enough despite Frank (Biela) did a really good job in qualifying. Last year we were very far away from pole position."
Dave Maraj (Team Director Audi Sport North America): "I was pleased because obviously we went faster the whole weekend. And we are much closer this time than we were last year. I hope for a good race."

The starting grid at Salt Lake City
1 Dumas/Bernhard (Porsche), 1m 31.050s
2 de Ferran/Pagenaud (Acura/Honda), 1m 31.189s
3 Fernandez/Diaz (Acura/Honda), 1m 31.342s
4 Brabham/Sharp (Acura/Honda), 1m 31.352s
5 Maassen/Long (Porsche), 1m 31.462s
6 Luhr/Werner (Audi R10 TDI), 1m 31.590s (1st in LM P1)
7 Franchitti/Leitzinger (Porsche), 1m 31.683s
8 Biela/Pirro (Audi R10 TDI), 1m 31.797s (2nd in LM P2)
9 Herta/Fittipaldi (Acura/Honda), 1m 31.903s
10 Smith/Dyson (Porsche), 1m 32.356s