Excellent results at Road America. We’ve said in the past that Lucas Luhr was a better Prototype driver than a DTM driver. He is starting to really mature and become a real deal in the Le Mans series.
Great job goes out to Marcel Fässler in his debut, as well!
Audi R10 TDI #2 (Audi Sport North America), Lucas Luhr
Lucas Luhr has captured the pole position for Audi in the seventh round of the American Le Mans Series with a record lap at Road America. The German beat the previous track record held by Allan McNish by 0.730 seconds. With an average speed of 136.277 mph, the Audi “factory” driver also recorded the fastest ever qualifying lap in the history of the American Le Mans Series.
It is the first overall pole position for the German in the US-based sports car series and the first for him at the wheel of the over 650-hp strong Audi R10 TDI which also started from pole at Road America in 2006 and 2007. Luhr was fastest in Friday afternoon’s qualifying session right from the start improving his time with each of his following three laps. The 29-year-old was the only driver to dip under 1m 47s. Second placed Franck Montagny (Acura/Honda) was 0.410 seconds slower.
Emanuele Pirro set the third fastest time with the “sister car”. This means both Audi R10 TDI prototypes will start Saturday’s race from the first two rows of the grid. Pirro shares the cockpit for the first time with Swiss Marcel Fässler who is driving his début race with the diesel-powered sportscar at Road America.
The start at Road America is scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m. local time (11 p.m. in Germany). The race-distance is four hours and thus longer than most other rounds of the American Le Mans Series. Lucas Luhr and his team-mate Marco Werner enjoy a commanding lead in the LM P1 Drivers’ Championship prior the race at Road America.
Quotes after the qualifying at Road America
Lucas Luhr (Audi R10 TDI #2): “A pole is always nice. And achieving a small record makes it of course even sweeter. Personally, I don’t care too much about this, I always want to be as far in front as possible. We’ve done that. The car was good. I made a small mistake on my quickest lap, it would have probably been possible to be one or two tenths faster. But nevertheless I am happy and satisfied. We even do not have to do much more for the race because we already have a good race set-up too.”
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #2): “Congratulations to our record man! Lucas (Luhr) has done a good job: pole position with a great time. I think it looks good also for the race. It will certainly be a difficult race as it is four-hours long. We are in a good shape starting from pole position, even if this is not so important in such a long race. It is critical that we are consistently fast in the race. And we should be.”
Marcel Fässler (Audi R10 TDI #1): “I’m still learning but generally things are already going pretty well. I begin to feel really comfortable in the car. I still need to know the race track, the car and the team a little bit better. I need to improve for the race, but up until now I’m happy.”
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #1): “I’m quite satisfied. We started with losing one part of the first session due to small problems and with a car quite far from a good balance. It took us a long time to catch back up. Even during the qualifying session we improved the car. I think we are 90 percent good now and we can look forward to the race. With full tanks the car is good.”
Dave Maraj (Team Director Audi Sport North America): “Lucas (Luhr) did a very good lap in qualifying. Congratulations to him, to the engineers and the whole crew. Everybody did a great job today.”
The starting grid at Road America
1 Luhr/Werner (Audi R10 TDI) 1m 46.935s (1st in LM P1)
2 Rossiter/Montagny (Acura/Honda) 1m 47.345s
3 Fässler/Pirro (Audi R10 TDI) 1m 47.579s (2nd in LM P2)
4 Fernandez/Diaz (Acura/Honda) 1m 47.639s
5 Dumas/Bernhard (Porsche) 1m 47.736s
6 Brabham/Sharp (Acura/Honda) 1m 47.774s
7 de Ferran/Pagenaud (Acura/Honda) 1m 48.160s
8 Field/Field/Berry (Lola-AER) 1m 48.371s (3rd in LM P1)
9 Maassen/Long (Porsche) 1m 48.492s
10 Franchitti/Leitzinger (Porsche) 1m 48.586s