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Bowmanville, 6 August, 2000

Round six of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) was nothing for weak nerves: Changing weather conditions and a total of five safety car periods made it one of the most exciting races in the history which ended with a photo finish after the 2:45 hour distance: Rinaldo Capello in the winning Audi R8 and Joerg Mueller (BMW) crossed the finish line side by side. Half a car length decided the race in favor of Audi.

This close finish, however, does not reflect the performance of the Audis during the race. From the beginning the two Audi R8s were the fastest cars on the demanding track, which became increasingly slippery shortly after the start due to heavy rain. In these difficult conditions the Audi drivers, especially Allan McNish and Emanuele Pirro, were able to showcase the superior quality of the Audi Sport racer from Ingolstadt.
Segments of the race saw the Le Mans winner lapping some five seconds a lap faster than the rest of the competitors.

Despite the drying track, Rinaldo Capello decided to finish the race on rain tyres. Joerg Mueller in the BMW pitted for slicks and was able to chase down the leading Audi very quickly. On the last lap Mueller caught Capello and was trying to pass through the last curves. Despite the almost dry track Mueller was not able to pass. “I was very aggressive in the last lap and took the last corners almost as fast as if I was on slicks”, said an exuberant Capello after the exciting finish.

While Rinaldo Capello and Allan McNish celebrated the third victory of the Audi R8 in the American Le Mans Series, the unpredictable race ended in disappointment for Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela: Pirro, who had been pursuing his teammate, collided with a slower GT car, pulling on the Mario Andretti straight to the right and where Emanuele Pirro came on flying without any chances to avoid driving under the Porsche, spinning the second placed Audi out of the race. Biela/Pirro were classified 6th in the prototype category.

With his second victory in a row Allan McNish
(126) is now in 3rd place, Jan Magnussen (124) 5th, Rinaldo Capello (123)  and Frank Biela in 5th and Emanuele Pirro (121) in 7th in the ALMS point standings.
Joerg Muell leads with
146 points followed by his team mate JJ lehto with 143 points.

Sebring Silverstone Searspoint Total

Charlotte Nuerburgring Mosport

1

Jörg Müller 25 L  27 LM  26 L  27 L  19 22 L 146

2

JJ Lehto 25 L  26 L  25   27 L  19 21 143

3

Allan McNish 27 L  12   21 LM  11   28 LMF 27 LF 126

4

Jan Magnussen 19 L  23 LF  22 L  31 L  15 14 L 124

5

Frank Biela 32 LM 14   15   25 LF  21 15 L 123

 

Rinaldo Capello 27 L  12   20 L  11 26 L 27 LM 123

7

Emanuele Pirro 32 LF  14   15   24   22 L 15 121

8

David Brabham 18   22 L  22 L  32 LM  15 - 109

9

Bill Auberlen 22   17   9   16   17 19 100

10

Hiroki Katoh 12   15   17   22   12 15 93

11

Jean-Marc Gounon 22   17      17 L  15 19 92

12

Johnny O'Connell 15   17   22   12 16 L 82
David Brabham & Emanuele Pirro
ALMS Mosport one of the starts
Audi GT (ALMS Saftey Car ;-)) in front of BMW GT
Joerg Mueller & Charly Lamm talking strategy
EP and his partner Frank Biela
McNish & Rinaldo Capello
Emanuele Pirro in his Audi R8

Rinaldo Capello (#77)
“The end of the race was incredible. When I saw Joerg in my mirrors during the final lap, I thought, he would be able to get by. It was clear, that he would be faster with the slicks on the dry track. But I gave everything and took the inside line on the final corner. I feared that he would be able to pass me when we accelerated. But I belive it was still a little bit wet on his side.”

Allan McNish (#77)
“This was a nerve wracking race! Everytime we built a lead we lost it with full course yellows. We were a little bit concerned about the wet conditions. The track was very slippery, but the car was very stable - even if it is not a quattro...”

Frank Biela (#78)
“We started the race on a different rain tyre compound than Allan and they didn’t work at all. I had no grip and even in higher gears the car had wheel spin. Because of that we lost a lot of time. If that would not have happened Emanuele would have had it easier towards the end of the race.”

Emanuele Pirro (#78)
“It was going really well, I was able to make up almost a whole lap. We had a very good pit strategy and changed the tyres at the right time. I was in a position to win the race. Unfortunately there was a misunderstanding with a backmarker. This was an accident, which was very difficult to avoid. It was after a hump, there is very poor visibility and the difference in speed was very high.”

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport
“That was one of the most exciting sportscar races of history. The pace car cost us a lot of time and we just cannot understand the stop-and go-penalty for Allan. The No. 78 car today had bad luck, we could have had a chance for a double victory.”

Reinhold Joest, Team Director Audi Sport North America: “That was a real tyre gamble, but I think over all we made the right decisions although it was very close at the end. But this time we were a little more lucky than we were under the same conditions at the Nürburgring race.”