August 17, 2002
With a record lap, Audi driver Frank Biela has captured pole position for round seven of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in Mosport, Canada. The three times Le Mans winner on Saturday set a new lap record in Team Audi Sport North America´s Infineon Audi R8. With an average speed of 131.793 mph (212.094 kph) the 38-year old German also recorded the fastest ever qualifying lap in ALMS history.
With Rinaldo Capello qualifying second, both “works” Audi sportscars will start the race from the front row on Sunday. Johnny Herbert, driving the 2001-spec R8 entered by Audi´s customer team Champion Racing, was able to improve from fifth to third on the grid shortly before the end of the 20-minute qualifying session demoting the two Cadillacs to fourth and fifth.
Frank Biela coninued an impressive series with his fourth pole position of the season: During qualifying, the German is still undefeated in the ALMS 2002. Biela drove four times in qualifying always recording the fastest time.
For the race on Sunday (1:00 p.m. local time) Biela is also scheduled as start driver for the no. 1 Infineon Audi R8, Rinaldo Capello for the sister car no. 2.
Quotes after qualifying
Frank Biela (Infineon Audi R8 #1): “I am very happy because I was really looking forward to Mosport and qualifying. The practice went well. However, the race is more important. In the past weeks, for which ever reasons, we did not have the best result for us. So it´s definitely time for a victory. But still it´s a great feeling having done qualifying four times setting four times the pole position.”
Emanuele Pirro (Infineon Audi R8 #1): “I am not suprised anymore when we are fastest in qualifying, because the car is great. But somehow the races are another story. With the yellow flags you can lose a lot when you are in the lead. Frank and I both like Mosport and in the past years we did great races here.”
Rinaldo Capello (Infineon Audi R8 #2): “In the first two laps I had no clear track, but the grip of the tires still seemed to be good on the third lap. I just had a little bit more understeer in the fast corners. Frank´s time was out of reach for me. But I still hope for a good race because this time we are not starting from row 10, but from the front row.”
Tom Kristensen (Infineon Audi R8 #2): “It’s great to be back at the fastest racetrack on the ALMS schedule which is a big contrast to the street circuits before. In fact I like every racetrack of the series, everyone is demanding, but Mosport in a different way. Well done to Frank for the pole. I am looking forward to an interesting afternoon behind the steering wheel of our Infineon Audi R8.”
Johnny Herbert (ADT Champion Audi R8 #38): “It took a long time for the tires to come up to temperature, I did ten laps before I felt like I had the grip to try and put in a fast time. We have been fighting a lack of front grip all day, so it is easy to overdrive the car, so I just worked up to the fast time slowly. It is nice to be in front of the Cadillacs especially after they did a day of testing here.”
Stefan Johansson (ADT Champion Audi R8 #38): “Johnny did a good job to put the car in the second row. We have been struggling in the high and medium speed corners, at Mosport that really affects lap times. I hope that Johnny’s time means that we are going in the right direction because we have been working on the aerodynamic grip. We have some changes to try in the warm-up to make the car even better for the race.”
Ralf Jüttner, Technical Director Team Audi Sport North America: “Hats off to Frank: This was a superb lap! And of course it is great that we achieved another record. For Dindo it certainly played a role that he was not able to drive on fresh tires during free practice. But he and Tom have also to work a little bit on their car. They went a slightly different way with the setup compared to Frank and Emanuele. It is nice to have all three Audi sportscars in front, because Cadillac is quite strong here. I have the impression that this will be an exciting race tomorrow – especially when we get the typical Mosport weather.”
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport: “Frank did a fantastic time – the fastest average speed ever driven in the ALMS. The reward for nice teamwork on the setup between Frank and Emanuele. It also is interesting that both Cadillac’s which were testing here last week have never been so close behind us. I wonder how that will look in the race. As far as Johnny Herbert is concerned we were joking wheather he goes for a long run. The effort was worth it – only on lap 13 Johnny pushed himself to position three. Three Audi sportscars in front of the grid is a great result.”
Starting grid at Mosport
1. Pirro/Biela (Infineon Audi R8) 1m 07.169s
2. Capello/Kristensen (Infineon Audi R8) 1m 07.720s
3. Herbert/Johansson (Audi R8) 1m 08.366s
4. Lehto/Angelelli (Cadillac) 1m 08.483s
5. Bernard/Collard (Cadillac) 1m 08.822s
6. Magnussen/Brabham (Panoz) 1m 09.213s
7. Field/Durand (MG Lola) 1m 09.730s
8. Herta/Auberlen (Panoz) 1m 10.451s
9. Knight/Hawkins/Hürtgen (MG Lola) 1m 10.854s
10. Neuhaus/Field (Lola-Judd) 1m 15.104s