|August 9, 2002
Audi Targets Another Hat-trick in Mosport
Audi has already won the Le Mans 24 Hour race and the 12 Hours at Sebring three times in a row. On 18 August, another hat-trick could be achieved: At Mosport, the Infineon Audi R8 has yet to be beaten after winning in 2000 and 2001.
The 2.459 mile (3.957 kilometre) circuit in Canada is one of the fastest tracks on the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) calendar and is hence a real contrast to the two street races in Washington and Trois-Rivières. Last year, Audi pilot Rinaldo Capello posted pole position with an average speed of 129.759 mph (208.821 kph) - no one set a faster average in the 2001 ALMS.
The Mosport circuit, situated in picturesque hilly countryside around 60 miles (100 kilometres) north-east of Toronto, is regarded as demanding with its extremely fast and partly blind corners, and is unforgiving. Although Audi won here for the past two years, only one R8 made it to the finish on both occasions. In 2000, Emanuele Pirro collided with a back-marker shortly before the finish, and last year both Tom Kristensen and Johnny Herbert retired after accidents.
The weather also plays a decisive role at Mosport. After two wet races, Team Audi Sport North America hopes for dry conditions this time as the difficult track becomes even more demanding in the wet.
Both Infineon Audi R8s of the Audi Sport North America team were taken directly to Mosport after the double victory at Trois-Rivières where they were prepared by the Audi squad for the seventh round of the ALMS season.
Quotes prior to the Mosport Race
Frank Biela (Infineon Audi R8 #1): "The two street circuits in Washington and at Trois-Rivières were interesting but relatively slow. Mosport is the absolute opposite: The track is super fast therefore aerodynamics are important. With the experience from the past two years we should be in a position to quickly find a good balance, which is particularly important for Mosport. During the last races our car was really good - high time to have good luck on our side again!"
Emanuele Pirro (Infineon Audi R8 #1): "After the slow circuits I can hardly wait to drive fast corners again. Mosport is a great track. We were always strong there. Although Frank and I had little luck in the last races, I´m still optimistic: We´re very strong at the moment and still have a chance to secure the title!"
Rinaldo Capello (Infineon Audi R8 #2): "Tom and I can only finish better this year at Mosport than last year. I believe it was the worst race of our careers. Nevertheless, I very much like the track and I still have great memories of my win in 2000. Last year we lost the title because we concentrated too much on single successes. In the ALMS, the main thing is to finish every race and to consistently bring home points. For this reason, from now on we will not try to win at all costs."
Tom Kristensen (Infineon Audi R8 #2): "Alongside Road Atlanta, Mosport is the fastest circuit in the American Le Mans Series and therefore a real contrast to the two slow circuits on which we recently competed. There are several extremely quick corners, one is driven in sixth gear, three in fifth. Last year Dindo and I experienced a disastrous race there. We started from pole position but were sidelined with an accident. This year we want to show that we can do it better."
Johnny Herbert (ADT Champion Audi R8 #38): "I like Mosport a lot. The Champion Audi was really strong there last year. We had the chance to win and despite our retirement, I enjoyed the race tremendously. I hope we can be as fast and finish this time high in the points. After all, I have to catch up the other Audi drivers."
Stefan Johansson (ADT Champion Audi R8 #38): "The Mosport track is simply fantastic. Johnny and I love this circuit. If we have a little more luck than in the last races then Mosport should yield a very good result for us."
Ralf Jüttner, Technical Director Team Audi Sport North America: "After several tracks that were new for us comes Mosport which we know very well. We have data from the last two years making the set-up work easier for us. The circuit is quite fast and should suit our cars. We looked strong at Mosport for the past two years."
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport: "Despite winning at Mosport last year, it wasn´t a perfect race. Through accidents we lost two monocoques, and that is rare for us. The weather conditions there were always extreme. I hope we experience better weather in Mosport this year. The race track is beautiful but not without danger because it is very fast."
Schedule in Mosport
Friday, 16 August
Saturday, 17 August
Sunday, 18 August
1. Tom Kristensen (Audi) 139 points
1. Audi 147 points