|July 26, 2002
Audi Seeks Revenge for Washington in Canada
Two weeks after the spectacular American Le Mans Series event in the US capital Washington, D.C., Team Audi Sport North America has to step on new territory again: Round six of the ALMS takes place on the street circuit in Trois-Rivières in Canada, about 90 miles north-east of Montréal.
Similiar to the last race in Washington, the Audi squad knows the track in Trois-Rivières only from drawings and pictures. At a length of just 1.521 miles (2.447 kilometres), the „Circuit Trois-Rivières" is even shorter than the track in Washington. It is a classic street circuit, partly using roads normally open to public traffic and winding its way between a hippodrome, a baseball stadium and a swimming pool complex. Opened in 1967, Trois-Rivières claims being North America´s first and most traditional street circuit which hosted races for the spectacular sports cars of the former CanAm series.
Now, Trois-Rivières links with its great sports car tradition staging a race for the Le Mans prototypes of the ALMS. On the widened and modernized track, championship leader and reigning champion Audi will seek revenge after the narrow defeat against Panoz in Washington.
Compared to the past ALMS races, it will be even more important to find a good setup as quickly as possible, Trois-Rivières being a 2-day event. On Friday, teams and drivers have just two hours to get used to the track before the line-up on the grid will be decided during afternoon´s qualifying session for Saturday´s 3-hour race.
Quotes before the race in Trois-Rivières
Frank Biela (Infineon Audi R8 #1): "To keep our championship hopes alive, Emanuele and I definitely have to win in Trois-Rivières. In Washington we proved that we are strong on a street circuit, too. I took the pole position and we were fast in the race as well. On a street circuit, however, you also need to have some luck. And Panoz will be again very competitive in Canada."
Emanuele Pirro (Infineon Audi R8 #1): "Frank and I are in a good shape at the moment. During the last three races we have been very fast and always in the lead, but we won only once. The desire to take victory at Trois-Rivières is therefore very strong - also because we need the points to keep our championship hopes alive. I can´t say anything about the track. Although the R8 has not been developed for ´city traffic´, things were going much better in Washington than expected. Apart from the bad luck with the yellow flags I really enjoyed the race."
Rinaldo Capello (Infineon Audi R8 #2): "I heard that the track in Trois-Rivières is even tighter than the one in Washington. But I was also sceptical before Washington and then surprised in a positive way because the track was really good. So I am curious about Trois-Rivières. By now we know that the R8 is strong also on this kind of tracks."
Tom Kristensen (Infineon Audi R8 #2): "I am really looking forward to Trois-Rivières, a race with a big history. Washington showed that our car is competitive also on street circuits despite we have full steering lock in hairpins. The track at Trois-Rivières is said to be more bumpy, so we should use a softer setup of the suspension. We are leading the championship, but on a street circuit the smallest mistake can take you out of the race."
Johnny Herbert (ADT Champion Audi R8 #38): "I must score well in Canada after the recent disappointment in Washington. I´m only fourth in the standings now and it´s vital to score well in Trois-Rivières so as to narrow the gap on Tom. Stefan and I have suffered some bad luck in the last three races and it´s about time we have some good fortune so that we can reward the Champion Audi guys who work so hard."
Stefan Johansson (ADT Champion Audi R8 #38): "I´ve never been to the track but I believe it will be interesting to drive according to reports I´ve heard. It will be tight and twisty, a little like Washington - a race which promised a lot but delivered only heartache for us. The Champion Audi team has made progress in terms of narrowing the gap to our rivals and I´m optimistic we can continue this way."
Ralf Jüttner, Technical Director Team Audi Sport North America: "Trois-Rivières should be similar to Washington, but the track is even shorter and the surface presumably more bumpy. We expect lap times of around one minute and another thrilling race like the one in Washington. Of course, this time we want to have the better end for us."
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport: "In Trois-Rivières, we will again face the difficult task to set up a gearbox which was built for a top speed of about 205 mph for a track where you reach just 150 mph. It is also difficult to get the tyres to their ideal working temperature. Despite that we have immediately been fast in Washington. You should not forget that the R8 which in the end was beaten by just 0.7s had a spin and a stop-and-go-penalty. We did not lack speed in Washington. The problem on a street circuit is, that overtaking is extremely difficult. That´s why we expect another hot race in Canada."
The schedule in Trois-Rivières
Friday, 2 August
Saturday, 3 August