30 April 2000

Audi dominant in Le Mans warm-up trials
From the Audi AG press release

Audi is well prepared for the Le Mans 24 Hour race. In the warm-up trials on Sunday, the three Audi R8s made it first, second and third. Fastest man on the track was Allan McNish.

Much more important than the quest for times was the work on the three open-top sportscars. The Le Mans circuit partly consists of public country roads, and therefore the four hour long practice is the only testing opportunity for the Audi Sport Team Joest on the track.

"During the whole day we had a special programme for each car which was work on the aerodynamics, on the set-up and using different tyres", says Head of Audi Sport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. The only incident that occurred was an excursion of Allan McNish which was the result of a technical failure.

Until the race at Le Mans on 17/18 June the black, red and yellow marked cars will be further developed. Dr Wolfgang Ullrich: "The main work now is to find a perfect compromise between aerodynamics and an optimum set-up."

Unofficial timing by Audi Sport Team Joest
1. Aiello/McNish/Ortelli Audi R8 3m36.628s
2. Biela/Pirro Audi R8 3m37.219s
3. Abt/Alboreto/Capello Audi R8 3m37.695s
4. Schiattarella/de Radigues Lola-Judd 3m38.807s
5. Gache/Formato Courage-Judd 3m39.806s
6. Matthews/Johansson Reynard-Judd 3m40.313s
7. Brabham/Magnussen Panoz 3m41.563s
8. Katoh/O'Connell Panoz 3m42.073s
9. Bernard/Collard Cadillac 3m43.000s
10. Goossens/Tinseau Cadillac 3m44.465s

Bold denotes = quickest lap in each car

Quotes after the warm-up trial

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport: „If you make it first, second and third you must be satisfied. But still we have seen a lot of things which we can improve on."

Reinhold Joest, Director Audi Sport Team Joest: „After this test I'm really optimistic for the race. The incident which happened to Allan McNish today can always occur but is better that it happened today rather than during the race. Now we will look for the reason."

Laurent Aiello (#9): „During the first session the car was very good to drive. In the afternoon we tried out a lot of things. Unfortunately I had a little problem with the gearbox. After it had been repaired I handed it over to Allan McNish."

Allan McNish (#9): „We made good progress. I'm sorry for the team about my excursion because the guys did a really good job. Under braking for the Porsche corners I suddenly lost grip and lost control."

Stéphane Ortelli (#9): „In the morning I mainly 'cleaned' the track. Nevertheless the car was very quick. Even in the fast parts of the track I felt very good for it was the first time I drove an open-top car at Le Mans."

Frank Biela (#8): „We tried out a lot of things today and I'm very satisfied with the progress we made. I'm convinced we can go even faster."

Emanuele Pirro (#8): „I'm quite satisfied. We had two sessions without any problems and tried out a lot of aerodynamic things. The car is very good to drive. Under braking it jumps a little bit too much but we will cope with that for sure."

Christian Abt (#7): „I just did some driving in the morning. Generally we can be satisfied and optimistic. But compared to our team-mates we are too slow on the straights."

Michele Alboreto (#7): „The car is very competitive. I'm really looking forward to the race. There are only a few things we have to sort out."

Rinaldo Capello (#7): „From the beginning, I liked the car a lot. Especially in fast corners it is much more easy to drive than last year's car. Only on the straights we miss some speed. Perhaps we had too much downforce. "

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