Commanding 1-2 victory for Audi at Mid-Ohio
Audi Sport North America's two Audi R10 TDI prototypes were in a class of their own in round six of the American Le Mans series at Mid-Ohio (U.S. state of Ohio). Lucas Luhr/Marco Werner and Dindo Capello/Emanuele Pirro achieved a comanding 1-2 victory for Audi – on a track which in the past favoured the lighter LM P2 cars and on which Audi last scored an overall victory in 2004.
Particularly impressive was the victory of the two Germans Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner. They led 107 of the 111 laps. After the start, Werner needed just five laps to pass the four Acura/Honda and Porsche cars which had started in front of him. The German set a new race lap record on lap seven and handed over the R10 TDI to team-mate Lucas Luhr in first position after 50 laps. Luhr defended the lead until the finish.
Four caution periods wiped out the advantage of the #2 Audi, but each time Luhr was able to pull away from the rest of the field after the re-start – and this despite the fact he completed lmost two hours on just one set of tyres.
Dindo Capello and Emanuele Pirro also showed a strong performance: Capello worked his way from seventh on the grid to second position in just 18 minutes giving Audi a early 1-2 lead. Despite contact whith a GT2 car, which he was not responsible for, and which resulted in a spin dropping him temporarily to third place, Capello handed the Audi R10 TDI over to Emanuele Pirro in second position.
The decision to change tyres a second time cost the #1 R10 TDI the second place. After the last caution period, however, Pirro had no problems to overtake Romain Dumas in the Porsche RS Spyder thus giving Audi a perfect double victory.
For the Audi R10 TDI it was the sixth 1-2 victory and the 17th overall success since its début in March 2006. Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner extended their lead in the LM P1 Drivers' Championship with their fifth victory in six races. With three overall victories, Audi is the most successful brand in the first half of the season. The second half of the American Le Mans Series begins on 9 August at Road America (the U.S. state of Wisconsin).
Quotes after the race at Mid-Ohio
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "It was a perfect performance today, everything went so well. The key factor was that both cars had a good and consistent speed. We also had a good strategy regarding the fuel consumption – even if this was somewhat eased by the caution periods. I'm glad that my first visit to a race in the U.S. since quite a while was rewarded with a 1-2 victory. I promise, I'll come also to the next race ..."
Lucas Luhr (Audi R10 TDI #2): "It was a perfect day for Audi! It looks like then, if the boss is there, everything goes well. He should come over to some more races ... Seriously: I'm super-happy. Our car engineer and the whole team did a great job. The strategy was perfect. First, I had a bit of doubt. But when I did not see any car behind me two laps after the first caution period I knew that nobody would catch us today. Marco (Werner) drove a fantastic first stint. My thanks go to Audi Sport North America, Team Champion and everybody at home in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm."
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #2): "A fantastic Audi day and a fine double victory! I started to believe in it after yesterday's qualifying, when the gap to the front was quite small, which usually means we are well sorted for the race. This was really the case today. Lucas (Luhr) completed his stint on one set of tyres which is not easy. This means that the set-up of our R10 TDI was perfect. The timing of the pit stops was also good. Today, everything fitted together. We are happy – thanks to the whole Audi team."
Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #1): "I think I did a very good stint recovering the gap we had. I was very confident. Unfortunately I was touched by a GT car and sent into a spin. This was really bad luck. The yellow flags helped quite a lot to recover again. Anyway: 1-2 is a great result for Audi, we deserved this already at Lime Rock, but fortunately we got it here."
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #1): "This was a good race for us. As always when the gap in qualifying is not so big we have a very good car for the race. We had a great 1-2 for Audi and played a good team strategy together over the radio. Of course sometimes it would be nice to have a 2-1 instead of a 1-2 ... But after the bad luck we had in the last races we can go home with a big smile."
Dave Maraj (Team Director Audi Sport North America): "After yesterday's qualifying I did expect a podium finish, but not such a dominant performance. I want to congratulate the whole team and the drivers for a fantastic job. It was a great team effort!"
The results at Mid-Ohio
1 Luhr/Werner (Audi R10 TDI) 111 laps in 2h 45m 19.458s (1st in LM P1) 2 Capello/Pirro (Audi R10 TDI) + 7.717s (2nd in LM P1) 3 Dumas/Bernhard (Porsche) + 11.272s 4 Brabham/Sharp (Acura/Honda) + 11.881s 5 Fernandez/Diaz (Acura/Honda) + 18.519s 6 Maassen/Long (Porsche) + 32.798s 7 Smith/Dyson (Porsche) + 52.516s 8 Franchitti/Leitzinger (Porsche) + 56.665s 9 Müller/Farnbacher (Ferrari) - 7 laps 10 van Overbeek/Pilet (Porsche) - 7 laps