- New lap record in qualifying achieved by Audi R10 TDI
- Marco Werner in front row
- Second consecutive and tenth total pole position for Audi R10 TDI
After a stunning lap in qualifying, the Audi R10 TDI will head into the race at St Petersburg (US state of Florida) from pole position. In Friday’s qualifying session on the street circuit, Marco Werner achieved a lap 0.753s ahead of his closest opponent. Thus the Audi R10 TDI has scored its second consecutive pole position in as many Amercian Le Mans Series races this season.
In his third lap, German driver Marco Werner set a stunning lap time of 1m 02.825s. This was one second quicker than any other car in any previous practice session, and 0.753s clear of Frenchman Romain Dumas in his LM P2 Porsche RS Spyder on second spot in qualifying.
Thus, the Audi R10 TDI #2 achieved pole position at St Petersburg for the first time, beating Allan McNish’s 2007 LM P1 best time (1m 03.415s) by a margin of 0.6 seconds. In doing so, the Audi R10 TDI also achieved a new LM P1 track record for the 1.8 mile circuit in downtown St Petersburg. In the 25-month racing history of the Audi R10 TDI, this was the tenth overall pole position.
While Marco Werner’s lap time can has been acclaimed as an extraordinary and unexpected performance on this temporary track that is not perfectly suited to the strengths of the TDI powered prototype, Frank Biela’s ninth best lap time of 1m 04.577s was the result of several aspects that need to be taken into account. In the searing heat with ambient temperatures of 31 degrees Celsius and track temperatures of 46 degrees, the team of the Audi R10 TDI #1 went for a harder tyre compound with regard to the 1h55 race on Saturday. In addition, it was Frank Biela’s first encounter with this street track.
An accident of an opponent and red flags in the dying minutes of the previous free practice prevented him from trying a different set-up in preparation of qualifying.
The all-German duo Marco Werner/Lucas Luhr will line up first on the grid on Saturday at 01:25 pm local time (19:05 pm in Germany), with the sister car of the Italian-German combination Emanuele Pirro/Frank Biela will start from fifth row.
Quotes after the qualifying at St Petersburg
Lucas Luhr (Audi R10 TDI #2): “First of all, I am really happy for the team and also for Audi. It is a very important pole position for us after the unlucky situation at Sebring. Marco did a fantastic job. Congratulations, I tip my hat. He really did an awesome lap. I am really happy as we have the best starting position for what will hopefully be a successful race.”
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #2): “That was a really good qualifying session! I pushed hard and I am proud for Champion Racing and Audi to be on pole position. Thanks to the whole team for their work. I like this circuit – to be quick on this circuit, you have to like it. I found a really good peak in the tyres’ performance. Thanks a lot to Michelin. When I went for antoher quick lap, there was a drop of the tyres’ performance. The car started sliding and I spun in turn eight.”
Frank Biela (Audi R10 TDI #1): “I’m definitely not satisfied. It is the first time that I’m here and it was not so easy to adapt to everything. Plus, we had a little lack of grip in slow corners. We have to find out why this was the case and to sort it out by tomorrow on race day.”
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #1): “First of all, Marco produced an incredible lap. This is very very good for the team and for Audi. It’s a fantastic day. Regarding our car, we went for a different tyre choice and for a harder compound which I think is a better choice for the race. But this is not all. We’ve got something to find out to have a good performance for tomorrow.”
Dave Maraj (Director Audi Sport Team North America): “I’m extremely surprised that we are on pole position and that we have achieved a time like that. I think that Marco did an extremely good job, the engineers and the team did also a great job getting the car to work well. I’m really very happy. Now, we’ve got to reach a good result tomorrow.”
The starting grid at St Petersburg
1 Luhr/Werner (Audi R10 TDI), 1m 02.825s
2 Dumas/Bernhard (Porsche), 1m 03.578s
3 Brabham/Sharp/Johansson (Acura/Honda), 1m 03.707s
4 Maassen/Long (Porsche), 1m 03.737s
5 Franchitti/Leitzinger (Porsche), 1m 03.827s
6 Herta/Fittipaldi (Acura/Honda), 1m 03.962s
7 Smith/Dyson (Porsche), 1m 04.301s
8 Fernandez/Diaz (Acura/Honda), 1m 04.541s
9 Biela/Pirro (Audi R10 TDI), 1m 04.577s
10 Field/Field/Berry (Lola), 1m 05.274s