|August 5, 2001
Audi Finishes Second and Fifth at Portland
Portland, Oregon - Audi ended its streak of 14 wins in a row at Portland finishing the fourth round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race in second and fifth.
Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro starting from their third place qualifying position raced back from a large deficit to secure second place. Teammates Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen lead the race until the Infineon Audi R8 suffered shifting problems, which later forced a lengthy pit stop to repair, putting them down four laps.
Johnny Herbert and Andy Wallace in the Champion Audi R8 drove a competitive error free race to finish in third. The third place is the team's highest finish in ALMS competition.
The start of the race proved to be very exciting Tom Kristensen moved past David Brabham in the first turn and took the lead. Soon after the Panoz fought back and resumed the lead. The pair raced close for the next 1.5 hours with a margin of less than two seconds separating the two drivers.
Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro mounted a great comeback. The Infineon Audi R8 of the German/Italian duo suffered from oversteer and fell back to fifth position. But a great run through the field and a full course yellow brought the number 2 car back to the front.
With second place in Portland, the streak of 14 wins by the Audi team comes to an end. The next race for the ALMS will be at Mosport in Toronto, Canada on August 19.
The race from Portland will be televised on Monday, August 6 at 8:30 p.m. EDT on Speedvision.
Quotes after the race
Rinaldo Capello (#1): "Tom told me about the shifting problems when I took over the car. It got even worse after a while, so we had to pit again and work on the car. Often our team makes miracles come true but this time they had no chance because we lost too much time. But we will come back."
Tom Kristensen (#1): "The start was great. Good effort by David, who left me some space. It was very close, but fair. From then on he took every chance to attack me and could pass me. Nevertheless we had very good chances to win after I got back into the lead after my pit stop. Then I struggled with sticking gears, especially third and fourth, which cost us a lot of time."
Frank Biela (#2): "At the start I had to fight against Johnny Herbert, but I managed to secure third position. At the beginning everything worked out fine but after the first safety car period nothing was working anymore: I had heavy oversteer and collected a lot of rubber from the track. I already thought, the race was over for us, so I'm even more happy about our comeback and the second place."
Emanuele Pirro (#2): "Today I'm very happy with second place. We struggled with oversteer fromm the very first lap, but we kept on fighting during the entire race. I would have done everything to even get into the lead at the end but there was nothing I could do."
Johnny Herbert (#38): "It was nice to make a competitive pass on the number two car. We are getting to know each other and the car. Every time we make a suggestion the team responds and the car responds to the change. We were able to keep pace with the front of the pack and take advantage of their mistakes, while we didn't make any."
Andy Wallace (#38): "The end of the race was exciting. On the restart we went inside and everyone was banging into each other, the Panoz just went in too far and spun. We had a good battle going up until that point. I am happy with the progress of the team, we need some more miles in the car to really get it handling and take the next step."
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport: "Together with last year's Mosport event, this was the most exciting race of the ALMS. Until the very last lap everything was possible, but taken all in all Panoz was simply a little bit better today. After such a long time the team deserved this victory. Now we now how tough the rest of the season will be, but that only gives us more motivation."
Reinhold Joest, Team Director Audi Sport North America: "A few days ago I read that Portland is supposed to have its own rules: Never before has a series leader won this race. I guess today we fell victim to this rule. But nevertheless this was a great weekend: The spectators saw a nice show, Panoz gained some motivation - and we at Audi can also celebrate a second and fifth place."