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