Salt Lake City, May 17th, 2008
Team Audi Sport North America’s pair of Audi R10 TDI prototypes will
start the fourth round of the American Le Mans Series at Miller
Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City (US state of Utah), from rows
three and four of the grid. By qualifying sixth overall, Marco Werner
captured pole position in the LM P1 class for Audi. Frank Biela set the
eighth fastest time.
Under gruelling heat, specators saw one of the most thrilling and closest
qualifiyng sessions in the history of the US-based sports car series. The
lead changed several times and the fastest nine prototypes were
seperated by less than a second. Team Audi Sport North America
showed a much stronger performance than in the previous year when the
Audi R10 TDI lost almost three seconds in qualifying to the lighter LM P2
cars. This time the gap to pole position was just 0.540 seconds.
Frank Biela set a fastest time of 1m 31.797s right at the start of the
session – the absolutely fastest lap of the weekend until this moment. In
order to save the tyres for the race, Biela was called back into the pits
after just two flying laps. After this, however, the track allowed improving
lap times which eventually saw Biela dropping to eighth position.
Marco Werner began qualifying with less downforce, which did not allow
him to match Biela’s time. Only after switching to aerodynamics with
more downforce, the German was able to improve to 1m 31.590s and
sixth place on the starting grid.
In the previous race at Long Beach, Audi also started from rows three and
four before taking a 1-2 victory. The race at Salt Lake City begins on
Sunday at 1:05 p.m. local time and runs for 2 hours 45 minutes.
Quotes after the qualifying Salt Lake City
Lucas Luhr (Audi R10 TDI #2)
"We went a little bit in the wrong direction with our setup. We corrected
this in qualifying, however, only after the peak of the tyres had gone.
Despite that: We are much closer to the front than last year. This will be
an exciting race tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #2)
"We’ve been far away from this lap-time before qualifying. This means
we’ve made a good step. Five tenth to the front are not much. I’m a bit
angry that I did not insist on the change of the aerodynamcis before
qualifying. I wanted to use the second version right from the beginning.
Instead we started with the old version, after that the peak of the tyres had
gone. Maybe it would have been possible to go five tenth faster on fresh
tyres. Sixth place is disappointing. But we have made a good step forward
for the race.”
Frank Biela (Audi R10 TDI #1)
"I had two flying laps, my lap time came on the second lap. I did not
expect that the times would keep improving for such a long time – and
obviously our race engineer didn’t expect this either. That’s why we
stopped, certainly a little bit too early. The question is how much more
would have been possible. I don’t believe it would have been possible to
get onto the front row because my lap was good.”
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #1)
"I am optimistic for the race. The car is very good and very fast on full
tanks. Everything looks good, just the position is not good enough
despite Frank (Biela) did a really good job in qualifying. Last year we were
very far away from pole position.”
Dave Maraj (Team Director Audi Sport North America)
"I was pleased because obviously we went faster the whole weekend.
And we are much closer this time than we were last year. I hope for a