07.09.2012, 07:37:55 cet
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Adenau, July 09, 2000

After an exciting sportscar race, Audi achieved a place on the podium. Le Mans winners Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro finished the 1000 kilometer race at the Nuerburgring, the fourth round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), in third position. The second Audi R8 driven by Rinaldo Capello and Allan McNish had to retire on the 88th lap after Scotsman McNish spun.

The spectators around the track witnessed a dramatic wet race with a lot of lead changes, exciting fights for positions and many spins on the slippery track. Around 30 minutes before the finish, ultimate winners David Brabham and Jan Magnussen took over the lead with the Panoz. The legendary 1000 kilometer race at the Nuerburgring, which was one of Germany´s most important motorsport events in the seventies, celebrated a great renaissance this weekend.

During the first wet race for Audi since the beginning of the sportscar project, luck was not on the side of Audi Sport North America. Right at the beginning, Frank Biela got rain tyres but had to pit again very soon to get slicks because the tricky Eifel weather changed again and again. Then Allan McNish aquaplaned off, spun and damaged the floor and radiator duct of his Audi R8 and had to retire.

In a few days, Audi Sport North America and the Audi R8s will return to the United States to prepare for the fifth round of the American Le Mans Series which will be held on 23 July at Sears Point, California.

Emanuele Pirro in the Audi R8 no. 78
Rinaldo Capello in the Audi R8 no. 77
THe Audis on the grid, Reinhold Joest talking to engineer (red jacket)
Stromlinienrennwagen Auto Union Typ C Avus driven by Michele Alboreto
Stromlinienrennwagen Auto Union Typ C Avus driven by Michele Alboreto

Frank Biela (#78): „Today it was very difficult to predict the weather so we lost time during tyre changes which is hard to make up again in this strong series. Nevertheless with third place we collected points. Now I’m looking forward to the races in the USA, of course we keep hanging on.”

Emanuele Pirro (#78): “The Audi R8 is very easy on the tyres, which is normally a big advantage, it takes a little bit longer till they get on temperature and develop grip, but the track temperature was so low, that this never happend. In this rainy conditions a turbocharged engine, is not easy to tame. So we did real good. We have a winning car in the dry and our goal is the championship lead, which is now 20 points away, it will not be easy we have to win 5 times in a row the be on equal terms with Joerg Mueller and 6 wins to the championship, assuming he always finishes 2nd and does not score bonus points for a lead lap, most laps in the lead or for the fastest lap, it will be taff.”

Rinaldo Capello (#77): „At the start I didn’t want to take any risks. When I was braking for the chicane, I felt something by my feet which turned out to be the car’s headrest which was between the pedals. I reached down to it but accidentally touched the pitlane speed regulator button. Two laps later, the headrest became free and I threw it out of the car.”

Allan McNish (#77): “I’m quite disappointed. It took a while to get used to the level of tyre grip. I spun which lost us time. Once I had got the heat into the tyres, I was very fast on the track. But I aquaplaned and went off the track.”

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport: „We had a very exciting race until the very end but luck was not on our side today. We did not handle the weather conditions right at every moment. Now we will quietly analyse this weekend and take the improvements with us to the United States.”

Reinhold Joest, Team Director Audi Sport North America: „After all we went through during this six hours we are very happy with third place. We collected points for the series and the spectators saw exciting motorsport. Now we will keep on working hard and concentrate on the forthcoming races.”

1. Magnussen/Brabham (Panoz) 185 laps
2. Lehto/Müller (BMW) + 1m33.627s
3. Biela/Pirro (Audi R8) - 3 laps
4. Graf/O’Connell/Katoh (Panoz) - 4 laps
5. Montagny/Goossens (Cadillac) - 4 laps
6. Kelleners/Policand (ROC VW) - 5 laps
7. Lavaggi/Filiberti (Ferrari) - 8 laps
8. Beretta/Wendlinger/Duez (Chrysler) - 10 laps
9. Boullion/Gene (ROC VW) - 11 laps
10. Gounon/Auberlen (BMW) - 15 laps

Before the race Michela Alboreto drove a couple of demostartion laps in the streamline racer Auto Union Typ C Avus.