22nd May, 2006
Capello and McNish claim third consecutive LM P1 victory
Audi will return to American Le Mans Series action in six weeks time leading
the LM P1 class following a third consecutive maximum score. Dindo Capello (Italy)
and Allan McNish (Scotland) claimed a hard earned class victory – third place
overall – in their Audi Sport North America "factory” Audi R8 in the third round
of the 10-race series at Mid-Ohio (Ohio, USA) yesterday.
In cool weather conditions, McNish started the 165-minute race from the front
row of the grid and despite intense pressure kept second position and the lead of
the LM P1 class for a long time before handing the R8 over to Dindo Capello.
Capello slipped behind the Dyson Lola of Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver
immediately after a full course yellow at mid-distance but made a decisive
"early” second and final "fuel only” pit-stop and was catching the Lola when it
went off the track due to a rear puncture with 45 minutes to run.
Despite weighing 160 kg heavier as requested by the regulations, the Audi R8
finished third – less than eight seconds behind the latest LM P2 Porsches.
Capello and McNish will finally bring down the curtain on the successful
racing "career” of the Audi R8 when they contest the next race of the American
Le Mans Series at Lime Rock (Connecticut) on 1st July.
From the fifth round at Salt Lake City (15th July) and for the remainder of
the season, Capello and McNish plus current ALMS champions Frank Biela and
Emanuele Pirro will compete with the new Audi R10 TDI which is currently being
prepared in Europe for the Le Mans 24 Hours (17th - 18th June).
Quotes after the race at Mid-Ohio
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport):
"We scored again important points for our title defence in the American Le
Mans Series. Unfortunately, due to the latest handicaps imposed on the R8, it
is now almost impossible to compete with the lighter LM P2 cars – especially on
a track with the characteristics like at Mid-Ohio.”
Dindo Capello (Audi R8 #2):
"It is a great result for us – another maximum points score to extend our
championship lead. It was a struggle to get temperature into the tyres. Once we
had some heat it was okay, but after each full course yellow safety car period
it took about five laps to get good grip. The Audi R8 is such a heavy car and
this weight, combined with the small restrictor, allows even a GT1 class car
to pull away from us.”
Allan McNish (Audi R8 #2):
"The overall speed was lacking compared to LM P2 machines on this occasion.
I was forced to work very hard during my stint and had to defend for much of it
to keep the Dyson Lola and the second Porsche behind me. The opening laps were
very difficult, the cold conditions giving us a problem with low grip from the
tyres and as my stint progressed I had a handling imbalance.”
Dave Maraj (Team Director, Team Audi Sport North America):
"I have to compliment the entire team – they deserve massive praise for this
class victory. They had to work hard after accidents yesterday and again after
this morning’s warm-up which caused substantial bodywork damage on both occasions.
This enabled Allan and Dindo to score maximum points in their repaired car – which
is likely to be very valuable in terms of the championship. I’m very proud of the
Audi Sport North America team.”
1 Bernhard/Dumas (Porsche) 119 laps
2 Luhr/Maassen (Porsche) + 0.434s
3 Capello/McNish (Audi R8) + 7.303s
4 Weaver/Leitzinger (Lola-AER) - 3 laps
5 Beretta/Gavin (Chevrolet) - 3 laps
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