Audi R8 on Second Row at ALMS Finale
The two Audi R8 sports cars entered by American Audi customer Team ADT Champion Racing will start the finale of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at Laguna Seca from the second and third rows of the grid. Fastest Audi driver in Friday’s qualifying session was Frank Biela in fourth position. The German, who has already clinched the ALMS title together with his team-mate Emanuele Pirro, was two tenths of a second faster than Sascha Maassen in the new factory Porsche, who split the two Audi R8 sports cars. Last year’s champions JJ Lehto and Marco Werner will start the race from sixth place on the grid.
The ALMS finale begins on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. local time (0:15 a.m. in Germany) and ends after four hours in darkness. Having already won the LM P1 Drivers’ title, Audi needs only one more point to clinch the Manufacturers’ Championship.
Quotes after qualifying at Laguna Seca
Frank Biela (Team ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 #2): “Our car works fine. We’ve managed to find a good set-up. The gap to the front is a little too big, but this was not unexpected. The race is long and many things can happen.”
Emanuele Pirro (Team ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 #2): “We don’t have the fastest car, but I’m confident we will look good at the end of the race. The Audi R8 has proven so often to be reliable and consistent. It will be a tough race, but Frank and I can drive completely relaxed.”
JJ Lehto (Team ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 #1): “The competition is very strong here. Zytek and Lola were extremely fast in qualifying. This makes it interesting but also difficult for us. We are struggling with lack of grip. We will continue to work on it in tomorrow’s warm-up session.”
Marco Werner (Team ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 #1): “For sure the position on the grid is disappointing. We’ve never started so far back. But I never had so many problems before, especially under braking and fighting with understeer. I hope we can make a step forward before the race.”
Dave Maraj (Team Owner Team ADT Champion Racing): “It seems that the cooler temperatures in qualifying helped the Zytek and Lolas more than us. But we’ll see what happens in the race.”
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “The qualifying result is no real surprise despite one car being much faster than all of the others. As tomorrow’s race will be four hours long, I’m sure the results will look different. It’s interesting that a new car built to the LM P2 regulations like the Porsche is almost as fast as an old LM P1 with restrictions.”