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Donington, April 13, 2001

Audi came closer to its first victory in a European round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) by taking the first three positions of the starting grid at Donington Park (Great Britain) after finishing third at Silverstone and Nürburgring last year.

Rinaldo Capello (#1)
“The track is new for me and therefore it is not easy. But I like this kind of circuit much more than the ovals with the infields. I learned the track quite quickly and I am confident for the race. When I get into the car I can push without a big problem.”

Tom Kristensen (#1)
“Obviously I am very delighted to have the pole position. The car was great. I knew that I had to focus on Frank who was on slightly different tyres compared to me. I got a little bit sideways in the first corner on my first lap. On my second run I had to pass two other cars, which disturbed me little bit, but I was still fast enough to get pole position.”

Frank Biela (#2)
“I am quite happy with the result. The car had different reactions in left hand and right hand corners during the free practice sessions. We managed to get it right for the qualifying. The car had a little bit of understeer, but we can work on this for the race.”

Emanuele Pirro (#2)
“I was never happier for a second position in this championship than today. We had a really hard time before qualifying. There was a problem with the car that we finally found just before qualifying. Now the car is okay, but we still have to improve. I am as optimistic as ever.”

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport
“Qualifying went well for us, we look good for the race. Our cars are very close together and I am happy as well that Stefan Johansson is so strong with the customer R8. The new Chrysler, which has its first race here, was competitive from the very first moment. I am convinced that this car will be a strong competitor. I have always said that we can never relax.”

Reinhold Joest, Team Director Audi Sport North America
“Both driver crews are content. This means the engineers once more have done a great job as we are driving at Donington for the first time. We are well prepared and have a good chance to be fast in the race.”

1. Capello/Kristensen

Infineon Audi R8 1m 21.122s

2. Biela/Pirro

Infineon Audi R8 1m 21.281s

3. Johansson/Smith

Gulf Audi R8 1m 21.687s

4. Dalmas/Beretta

Chrysler 1m 22.721s

5. Boullion/Redon

Courage-Peugeot 1m 23.899s

6. Collins/Lupberger

Ascari 1m 24.117s

7. Brabham/Magnussen

Panoz 1m 24.817s

8. Cochran/Boss

Panoz 1m 26.242s

9. Graf/Salles

Panoz 1m 27.329s

10. O’Connell/Carway

Pilbeam 1m 27.971s

Denmark’s Tom Kristensen took his first ever pole position in a Sportscar beating his team mate Frank Biela during Friday’s qualifying session by just 0.159s. While Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello where happy with their Infineon Audi R8 from the beginning, Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro suffered strange handling in the companion car during Thursday’s test session and the free practice on Friday morning. Team Audi Sport North America, however, was able to find the problem and fix the setup just in time for the qualifying.

Stefan Johansson qualified a strong third in his customer Audi R8 holding off the new Chrysler on its debut race. Despite the Swede crashing his car at the end of the qualifying session, he will be able to start the race on Saturday which is scheduled for 12:10 p.m. local time. Tom Kristensen and Frank Biela are nominated as the start drivers in the two Infineon Audi R8 sportscars.

Guy Smith in the Johansson Audi R8 #7
Tom Kristensen in the Infineon Audi R8 #1
Emanuele Pirro in the Infineon Audi R8 #2