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Sunday, September 09, 2000

After a 1900 miles non-stop trucking trip from Texas to Portland, the first hurdle was taken, now it is the drivers task, the qualifying is on. The skies are slightly overcast, after the forecasts were threatening with rain. Due to the tight schedule of this back-to-back racing weekend there will be only one 20 minute qualifying session.

For the fifth time in a row Audi took pole position in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). This time it was Rinaldo Capello who set fastest time during the 20 minutes of qualifying on Portland International Raceway and lowered the old ALMS track record. Le Mans winner Frank Biela who was quickest during the free practice sessions completed the great starting position for Audi with second fastest time. After the gruelling heat of Texas which the Audi drivers suffered from last weekend the weather turns out to be more comfortable in Oregon. Despite dark clouds the entire qualifying took place under dry conditions.

Round eight of the American Le Mans Series starts on Sunday, 12 pm local time and runs over a distance of 2:45 hours. Rinaldo Capello (#77) and Emanuele Pirro (#78) will be the start drivers in the two Audi R8s.


Car Driver(s) Lap Best Time Interval Car Make/Engine

77 Capello/McNish 4 1:04.312 -- Audi R8


78 Biela/Pirro 4 1:04.387 0:00.075 Audi R8


1 Brabham/Magnussen 6 1:04.503 0:00.191 Panoz LMP-1


2 Katoh/O'Connell 8 1:05.309 0:00.997 Panoz LMP-1


0 Schiattarella/de Radigues 5 1:05.394 0:01.007 Lola B2K/10/Rafanelli V10


42 Lehto/Muller 4 1:05.582 0:01.270 BMW V12 LMR


36 Johansson/Smith 9 1:05.758 0:01.446 Reynard 2KQ/Judd


43 Auberlen/Gounon 3 1:05.940 0:01.628 BMW V12 LMR


19 Angelelli/Taylor 5 1:06.993 0:02.681 Cadillac Northstar LMP


37 Field/Sutherland 11 1:07.273 0:02.961 Lola B2K/10/Judd


39 Matthews/Simo 9 1:08.138 0:03.826 Reynard 2KQ/Judd
In the Pitlane
In the Pitlane
Emanule Pirro cleaning his "Friend"
Audi R8 #78 Emanuele Pirro

Rinaldo Capello (#77)
„We improved the car a lot since the free practice sessions, after we copied the setup from the sister car. Now I had a much better feeling and I knew I could do a good lap time. Nevertheless I had to push very hard because the Panoz team was very strong and forces us to work even harder. We are not going to change anything on the car for the race except a shorter first gear so that we can get away better at the start.”

Frank Biela (#78)
„It's a pity that we didn't make it to pole position. But still I'm quite satisfied because our car is very good. And with a margin of a few hundredths of a second you also need a lot of luck. For Emanuele having three points less than me in the championship he will do the start tomorrow. With a clean track he has a good chance to do the quickest lap and get an extra point. A chicane right after the start is always a problem. We have to take good care of the second and third row. They will definitely go for their chance to catch up right at the beginning.”

Reinhold Joest, Team Director Audi Sport North America

„It was not an easy job to find the right setup for both cars, especially with car no. 77. Which we finally copied from the #78 Audi. Panoz is getting faster and closer so I expect the race to be very exciting. The second problem, after the first chicane, is the low grip on the track which makes the tires lock up again and again. The good thing is that both Audi R8s are in the first row . I hope we'll manage to keep the Panoz behind so that our drivers can concentrate on their own performance.”