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Madrid, May 20, 2001

Twenty thousand spectators watched an exciting fight between Audi Sport North America’s two Infineon Audi R8 sportscars and the customer R8 entered by Johansson Motorsport during the second European round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at Jarama (Spain). The first victory of an Audi customer team in the American Le Mans Series looked likely for a long time, but finally the two Infineon Audi R8 sportscars took the honours again.

In the early stages of the race Emanuele Pirro (Infineon Audi R8 #2) was setting the pace. The Italian opened a gap of more than seven seconds before he was called in for a stop-and-go-penalty because he had passed a lapped car under a yellow flag.

Rinaldo Capello (Infineon Audi R8 #1), who started from pole position, dropped to third at the first corner and had first to fight his way back to the front of the field. This allowed Stefan Johansson to take the lead from Pirro. Capello always stayed close to Johansson, but the Swede did not make any mistakes.

The race, however, was decided shortly before the end of the second hour when Johansson went off at the end of the start-finish-straight after a brake problem. The Johansson team changed the rear of the car and was still able to finish fourth overall.

Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello crossed the finish line first giving the Team Audi Sport North America its 12th victory in a row. Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro made it another Audi 1-2.

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Rinaldo Capello (#1)
“I had a very good start but some problems in the first corner. I lost some places and dropped behind a Panoz. Stefan passed me when I got into traffic. It was a very hard race, because we did almost the same speed. I did not lose to him nor could I gain on him.”

Tom Kristensen (#1)
“I have to give a lot of credit to Stefan. He gave us really good competition and I was preparing to have a nice fight with him. But when I got into the car, we were in the lead. There was nobody left I had to fight with. Therefore it was a very easy race for me.”

Frank Biela (#2)
“I tried to close the gap to Tom, but it was impossible. Of course I am not happy, because we do not want to be the eternal second. Emanuele had a superb start and some great first laps. We were a bit unlucky with the stop-and-go-penalty.”

Emanuele Pirro (#2)
“For the third time this year we were having the fastest car and we did not win. This is really disappointing, because we needed a win for the championship. Now I hope we will get the luck at Le Mans. I still don’t know where the yellow flag was that I missed. When you overtake people in traffic, sometimes it is not so easy to see the flag.”

Stefan Johansson (#7)
“Something must have hit and damaged the brake line. I was completely in control of the race today. I was driving a sensible pace, saving the tyres, saving the fuel. And I was still able to pull out a small gap. This was really our race but we were unfortunate.“

Guy Smith (#7)
“The car was very good. We would have been able to win or at least easily finish second. We had bad luck, but we are coming closer to our first victory.“

Reinhold Joest, Team Director Audi Sport North America
“I have a lot of respect for Stefan Johansson. He drove a great race. But we stayed close to him and were a little bit more lucky in the end. We achieved another success for Audi and proved once more that we have reliable cars - which is especially important for Le Mans.”

1. Capello/Kristensen

Infineon Audi R8 114 laps

2. Biela/Pirro

Infineon Audi R8 + 42.428s

3. de Radigues/van de Poele

Reynard - 6 laps

4. Johansson/Smith

Audi R8 - 9 laps

5. Müller/Ekblom

BMW - 12 laps

6. Lehto/Müller

BMW - 12 laps

7. Pobst/Collard

Porsche - 12 laps

8. Konrad/Seiler/Brun

Saleen - 14 laps

9. Hawkins/Goddard/Saldana

Lola-Nissan - 16 laps

10. Masarati/Humphrey

Porsche - 18 laps
The start at Jarama
The start at Jarama
The podium at Jarama
Rinaldo Capello during a pit stop
Emanuele Pirro in the Infineon Audi R8 #2