|August 13, 2004
Audi R8 Cars Starting from the First Three Rows
All three Audi R8 will start from the first three rows in the Silverstone 1000kms, the third event of the 2004 Le Mans Endurance Series (LMES). Fastest Audi driver out of the 39 starters was Johnny Herbert in the Audi R8 of the Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx. Ex Formula 1 star Herbert did his best lap of 1.35.724 in the opening moments of the first of two qualifying sessions. Herbert and team mate Jamie Davies will start on Saturday 2 p.m. local time (3 p.m. German time) from second place in the race, which will last around six hours. Pierre Kaffer and Allan McNish will start from third position - the Scotsman improving his lap time in the second session. Rinaldo Capello had also hoped to improve his time in the second time trial. But Capello, who shares the 2004 "Le Mans 24-hour race" winning Audi R8 of Audi Sport Japan Team Goh with Seiji Ara, was held up by a slower competitor resulting in a sixth place start position.
Quotes after qualifying
Jamie Davies (Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx / Audi R8 #88): "Iīve been right on the pace during both practice sessions. We felt that getting pole-position was not worth battling to achieve so concentrated on getting a good race set-up in the second qualifying session. Obviously in terms of the championship, it's vital we get another top result and after Nürburgring, that means repeating our Monza win."
Johnny Herbert (Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx / Audi R8 #88): "My fastest lap during the morning session felt good and fast but obviously compared to that set by the Zytek, it was nothing particularly special. But having seen the Zytek through the chicanes at Monza and Le Mans, we're not that surprised. I'm confident that in the race, the gap will not be as big and it'll be a good race for us again."
Pierre Kaffer (Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx / Audi R8 #8): I did the majority of laps in each of the two practice sessions so as to learn the circuit - it's only my second visit - while in qualifying, Allan did most of the driving. I found Abbey Corner and the last two bends difficult but gradually, with each lap, I am getting quicker and quicker and now feel confident for the race.
Allan McNish (Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx / Audi R8 #8): "Qualifying has been a little disappointing but in reality it will not affect our race prospects whatsoever. We made improvements to the car in between the two qualifying sessions. Having won the last race in Germany, Pierre and I will be pushing our very hardest for a second consecutive LMES victory."
Seiji Ara (Audi Sport Japan Team Goh / Audi R8 #5): "It was a shame that Dindo encountered traffic which has had an affect on our starting position. On my qualifying laps, I concentrated on race set-up. The balance is getting better lap by lap. I am looking forward to the race, we still have a good chance."
Rinaldo Capello (Audi Sport Japan Team Goh / Audi R8 #5): "The time we are capable of is much faster than the one I achieved. When I was out on new tyres in second qualifying, a competitor got in my way. Thatīs a shame, because until then I did a new fastest sector time. I aborted this effort but the fact that the tyres had lost their `bite' I was not able to improve. A third row start is not a dream result, the car has got much more potential. Thatīs what we want to demonstrate in the race."
Sam Li (Team Director Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx): "The Zytek time is a remarkable one and so we decided not to chase them. It was more important for us to get a good race set-up for both of our cars than to fight for pole-position. We completed our programme which was very important. I think the race will be close and exciting and will hopefully result in our third LMES win."
Kazumichi Goh (Team Director Audi Sport Japan Team Goh): "We were simply unlucky. Dindo was really fast until he was held up. But the car is well balanced, so I am optimistic for the race."
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "It seemed that the track had the most grip during the first ten minutes in the first qualifying. We expected the lighter Zytek to do a fast lap time, but the big gap to our cars is a surprise. It was impossible to improve the times dramatically in the second session, so we concentrated on race setup. We are well prepared for the race. Because of our well balanced driver pairings our chances to win the race are still alive."
The starting grid at Silverstone
1 Dyson/Kerr (Zytek) 1m 34.033s