|March 16, 2007
Audi R10 TDI with Record Lap at Sebring
The updated Audi R10 TDI makes a strong impression in its debut: In qualifying for the 12 Hours of Sebring (USA), Marco Werner lowered the track record by almost a second. With his record lap, the Audi factory driver made a perfect comeback in the American Le Mans Series which he already won twice in 2003 and 2004.
Defending champion Dindo Capello set the second fastest time in qualifying, allowing both Audi diesel sports cars to start from the front row on Saturday at 10 a.m. local time (3 p.m. in Germany). The Italian was unlucky when Thursday’s 25-minute qualifying sessions was interrupted while he was on a fast lap.
For the first time since the race at Road America last August, two Audi R10 TDI sports cars will start from the front row of the grid in the American Le Mans Series. It’s the fifth pole position for the revolutionary diesel sports car in its ninth race.
The Audi drivers will face a more difficult challenge, however, in Saturday’s race: The fuel tank capacity for diesel sports cars was reduced from last year’s 90 litres to 81 litres. This means, that the R10 TDI has to come into the pits at Sebring about three laps earlier compared to 2006.
Quotes after qualifying
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "We know that qualifying is not important for the race result – either at Le Mans or at Sebring. But it is nice to have both cars on the front row of the grid. The team has earned this result. It shows the potential of the new Audi R10 TDI. As we expected, the LM P2 cars are not much slower. This means we have to work out a good setup for the race.”
Frank Biela (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Up until now everything went well, we had almost no problems at all this week. We could concentrate totally on the setup and qualifying proved it works well. Congratulations to Marco, he did a superb job. However, we still have the big task ahead of us on Saturday.”
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Having both cars on the front row is not so important for a 12-hour race. But it shows we have done a good job developing the car from last year. Of course I’m very happy that Marco took the pole. But I’m even more happy that we were able to improve the car every day because on Monday the balance was not as good as now.”
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Coming back into the race business with a pole position in such a classic race as Sebring is nice. Thanks to Audi, the qualifying lap with the car was fantastic. We waited a little bit at the beginning because the track seemed to be a bit dirty. That worked out perfectly. It was also important to get the maximum out of the Michelin tyres on the very first lap.”
Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #1): "I was a little unlucky in qualifying because of the red flag which affected our strategy. The plan was not to push on the first lap but to do a run of four laps. When I started the second lap the red flag came out. I tried again after the re-start but must admit that I pushed too hard too quickly although the tyre grip was not so good anyway. I congratulate Marco, he drove a great lap for pole. But we start also from the front row, this is good.”
Tom Kristensen (Audi R10 TDI #1): "It’s good to be racing the Audi R10 TDI again – the first time for me since Le Mans last June and only the third time in total after. I have been able to get up to speed quickly this week in the 2007 R10 TDI which has been optimized. We naturally try to win here at Sebring, which is a tough race in itself, but of course it is good preparation for Le Mans in June. We definitely will not underestimate Peugeot’s effort.”
Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #1): "As soon as the revised 2007-spec Audi R10 TDI was taken out of the truck on Monday it was immediately fast on the track, confirming that the development over the winter had been very positive. However, we still need to fine tune the balance and ‘feel’ of the car to get it 100% to our liking which is a normal situation for the first race of the season.”
The starting grid at Sebring
1 Biela/Pirro/Werner (Audi R10 TDI) 1m 44.974s