|September 11, 2004
Three Audi R8 in the First Two Starting Rows at the Season Final of the LMES
All three Audi R8 will start from the first two rows in the season final of the Le Mans Endurance Series in Spa-Francorchamps/Belgium. Fastest Audi driver was Allan McNish in the Audi R8 of the Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx. The Scotsman and his team mate Pierre Kaffer - both are leading the drivers point standings - will start tomorrow 1 p.m. from second place in the race. Jamie Davies and Johnny Herbert will start from third position while Seji Ara and Rinaldo Capello of Audi Sport Japan Team Goh - the Le Mans 24-hour race winner - will start from fourth place. The best lap times by all 38 starters were achieved in the second of the two qualifying sessions, because in the first session the track was slower due to rain showers before.
Quotes after qualifying
Pierre Kaffer (Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx / Audi R8 #8): "We're on the front row so to be first or second for such a long race does not really matter. I had set the fastest time in the morning qualifying session. I started on wets and then changed to intermediates and at the end it was quite dry. I'm happy."
Allan McNish (Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx / Audi R8 #8): "I had another crack to improve my time after the second red flag but was inadvertently held up. It would have been nice to be on pole but in reality we have a very good car for the race. Everything has gone well for us so far but it only counts in the race."
Jamie Davies (Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx / Audi R8 #88): "On my first flying lap in the afternoon session I spun under braking for the `bus-stop' and on my ultimate fastest lap, just before the second red flag interruption, I was held up badly and lost time. But we should be in good shape for the race which is what matters."
Johnny Herbert (Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx / Audi R8 #88): "When I took over from Jamie with 30 minutes to run, we made the decision to concentrate on our race set-up rather than get involved in a fight for pole. I'm still not totally happy - we have too much understeer - but we'll dial that out in the warm-up."
Seiji Ara (Audi Sport Japan Team Goh / Audi R8 #5): "Being fourth on the grid is not so bad, but to be honest: pole position was my aim. We didn't manage to do so today, so we go for victory tomorrow. We want to win!"
Rinaldo Capello (Audi Sport Japan Team Goh / Audi R8 #5): "The result is quite good. It's a shame that each of my really fast attempts were hindered by slower cars. We have to work on the set up for the race - I was fighting with heavy oversteer."
Sam Li (Team Director Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx): "We completed the programme for both cars we'd set out to achieve allowing for changing weather. A six hour race around Spa will be tough. We have now started all of our six races from the front row - 4 LMES races, Sebring 12 Hours and Le Mans 24 Hours."
Kazumichi Goh (Team Director Audi Sport Japan Team Goh): "I am satisfied with the result, because all three Audi are on the front two rows so we reached our goal. The car is in good shape. We had some bad luck with other cars, but I am optimistic for the race."
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "All three Audi are on the first two rows - that's what we set out to achieve and we have managed it. It was an exciting qualifying, but we just missed pole position. This apart, our hopes for a good race are still very much alive."
The starting grid at Spa-Francorchamps
1. Minassian/Campbell-Walter (Zytek) 2m 05.964s
2. Kaffer/McNish (Audi R8) 2m 06,002s
3. Davies/Herbert (Audi R8) 2m 06,139s
4. Ara/Capello (Audi R8) 2m 06,881s
5. Erdos/Ramos/Newton (Lola-AER) 2m 07,351s
6. Short/Barbosa/Pearce (Dallara-Judd) 2m 07,781s
7. Ayari/Gounon (Pescarolo-Judd) 2m 07,906s
8. Stack/Hignett/Collini (Zytek) 2m 09,080s
9. Lupberger/Stirling/Dumas (Nasamax-Judd) 2m 09,942s
10. Goossens/Keen (Lister) 2m 10,011s