First Time Pole For Diesel
Topics: Audi, Petit Le Mans
October 8, 2007
The Audi R10 TDI is one revolutionary machine. The diesel powered race car captured this year's win at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. And come the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta, the diesel race car will be staring in pole position. This will be the first time that a diesel powered car will be starting in pole in the ten years that American Le Mans has been staged.
Marco Werner driving the Number 2 Audi R10 TDI set the fastest lap time in qualifying. The German driver beat Allan McNish's track record from the 2000 season by about 1.5 seconds. The Number 1 Audi R10 TDI will start in the second row after Dindo Capello posted the third fastest time in qualifying.
Audi is on a mission to break the winning streak of lighter LM P2 cars. And they have shown in qualifying that they have improved the performance of their cars. Dr. Wolfgang Ulrich, the head of Audi Motorsports, said: "It's nice having taken the first Petit Le Mans pole position for a diesel. Qualifying was close and exciting. But our boys have earned this pole position because they worked hard for it. Of course I’m happy about this result. Now we have to get the best set-up from all the data we have collected in order to have a consistent fast pace in the race."
Marco Werner who recently exchanged marital vows joked about how the pole position was unexpected. "This pole position was quite unexpected for me because it was not my turn to qualify here. On top of that I married two weeks ago – and people say marriage and getting children makes you lose a second... I’m glad that’s not the case!" he said. The German added: "I did not drive so much here before qualifying. Also we gambled a bit with the set up, but this worked out well. With little fuel in the tank, Road Atlanta is really something special and I enjoyed that. Thanks to the team and Audi: Our car had two accidents and everybody really worked hard. This pole position is for the boys!"
Dindo Capello is looking to clinch the championship. Capello will be driving with Allan McNish come race day and will be looking to perform well on the track on board the race car which was designed to be as durable as Audi S4 parts.
Capello described his qualifying run saying: "I had big understeer in qualifying which was surprising. Right hand corners were particularly difficult and at the moment it’s a bit of a mystery. I pitted and swapped the tyres over which made the handling better in the faster sections but was still losing too much time in the slower corners."
"The race, I hope, will be another story once we’ve solved this problem. I’ve already won Petit outright three times and a fourth victory here would be very satisfying for me," added Capello.
The Petit Le Mans is the second longest race in the ALMS calendar. For 1,000 miles or ten hours - whichever comes first - drivers will be driving around Road Atlanta. The battle between LM P1 and LM P2 cars is expected to heat up as LM P1 cars are getting faster.
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