Really tight times set today during qualifying! Hello 164 thousandths of a second!
- Audi on rows three and four of the grid
- Marco Werner with strong qualifying performance
- Over a second faster than last year
Marco Werner has set a new track record for LM P1 sports cars in an exciting qualifying for the sixth round of the American Le Mans Series at Mid-Ohio (US state of Ohio). On Friday, the German beat the previous record by over a second.
On a track that traditionally favours the lighter LM P2 sports cars, Werner showed a strong performance. Several times, the German set the best time, before he dropped to fifth position in the final stages of the 20-minute qualifying session. Werner missed pole position by only 0.388 seconds and the front row by just 164 thousandths of a second.
The second Audi R10 TDI will start the race on Saturday from seventh position of the grid. Dindo Capello was able to go on the track only after ten minutes after being held in the pits by the race director – a late and not uncontroversial penalty following a collision with a GT1 car last weekend at Lime Rock.
The Audi drivers are confident for the race on Saturday. However, the two Audi R10 TDI prototypes have to start at Mid-Ohio for a last time with a nine-litre smaller fuel tank compared to the LM P2 sports cars. From the next race at Road America, this handicap will be reduced to five litres.
The race at Mid-Ohio will begin at 2:10 p.m. local time (8:10 p.m. in Germany) and runs over a distance of 2 hours 45 minutes.
Quotes after the qualifying at Mid-Ohio
Lucas Luhr (Audi R10 TDI #2): “I am very positive because we are very close to the LM P2 cars and only about three tenths away from pole. This has been quite different in the past, especially on such tracks. We know that we tend to be much better in the race than in qualifying. That gives us all confidence. Now we need to fine-tune our set-up, then we should be well prepared for the race.”
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #2): “I gave everything. It was fun and went well. I went quicker from lap to lap as the tyres got better. The decision to swap the tyres from left to right in the middle of the session was also right. We made another step. I’m satisfied with my time, but not so much with fifth position. Nevertheless, it looks good for the race. The first five cars are close together. In the race we are usually running closer to the qualifying pace than the others.”
Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #1): “Having had only ten minutes for qualifying was a little bit too short, especially as it takes a lot of time here to get the tyres to work. When I saw 1m 08.9s I said: The trend is good. But then I had to back off twice because of a Dyson-Porsche. At the end there was just not enough time left. The car was much better than in the last session before the qualifying. This makes me confident for the race.”
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #1): “It was another very competitive qualifying as it has been the case in the last races. We are not able to beat the light cars on a single lap. But this time we are not very far away which is quite promising. Our car is 95 percent good. We’ll try some more things in the warm-up and then we’ll have some hard work to come in the race.”
Dave Maraj (Team Director Audi Sport North America): “It was a good qualifying effort. We are very close to the pole. But we have our job to do tomorrow because due to our smaller fuel tank our strategy must be good.”
The starting grid at Mid-Ohio
1 de Ferran/Pagenaud (Acura/Honda) 1m 07.969s
2 Brabham/Sharp (Acura/Honda) 1m 08.193s
3 Dumas/Bernhard (Porsche) 1m 08.238s
4 Matos/Montagny (Acura/Honda) 1m 08.320s
5 Luhr/Werner (Audi R10 TDI) 1m 08.357s (1st in LM P1)
6 Fernandez/Diaz (Acura/Honda) 1m 08.507s
7 Capello/Pirro (Audi R10 TDI) 1m 08.960s (2nd in LM P1)
8 Maassen/Long (Porsche) 1m 09.614s
9 Smith/Dyson (Porsche) 1m 09.912s
10 Franchitti/Leitzinger (Porsche) 1m 10.029s