First victory of the season for Audi drivers Fässler/Pirro
Audi drivers Marcel Fässler and Emanuele Pirro achieved their first victory in the LM P1 class of the American Le Mans Series in the city street race in Detroit (U.S. state of Michigan). After a faultless drive they finished third overall with their Audi R10 TDI. Lucas Luhr and Marc Werner retired early following an accident and, after seven consecutive victories, for the first time this year did not score any points. At the "Belle Isle Street Circuit", Team Audi Sport North America's two Audi R10 TDI prototypes started the race from the forth row of the grid. During the first half hour of the race, Emanuele Pirro and Lucas Luhr passed the two Penske Porsches and one of the four Acura/Hondas. The two diesel-powered sports cars were running in fourth and fifth position when Lucas Luhr first spun on lap 22 before crashing sideways into a tyre wall at high speed on the same lap – his foot having slipped from the brake pedal on a bump, Luhr remained unhurt. The race, however, ended prematurely for him and his teammate Marco Werner because under IMSA rules a repair was not permitted.
This meant, all hopes of the Audi squad remained on the "sister car" which Emanuele Pirro handed over in third position to Marcel Fässler on lap 62. In his second race for Audi the Swiss drove faultlessly, bringing the R10 TDI home in third place. Fässler celebrated his first class victory in the American Le Mans Series. Emanuele Pirro scored his first win of the season.
Before the last two races at Road Atlanta (October 4) and Laguna Seca (October 18), only the Audi drivers Lucas Luhr, Marco Werner and Emanuele Pirro can still win the LM P1 Drivers' Championship. Audi had already clinched the Manufacturers' title last weekend at Mosport.
Quotes after the race in Detroit
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "It is nice having achieved such a good result from such a poor starting position. Marcel (Fässler) and Emanuele (Pirro) did a great job. This also applies to the team which did not have an easy time due to the accidents, but was nevertheless able to secure a third place overall and another LM P1 victory."
Marcel Fässler (Audi R10 TDI #1): "The track is very difficult; I really had my hands full dancing between the walls. The traffic was even worse than last time at Road America. I am very happy. Emanuele (Pirro) did a superb job, the team was great and the tyres were super consistent over the whole distance. I am glad to be a part of this team. It is great fun."
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #1): "We can really be happy. We did the best we could on a very difficult race track. We both did a good race. I was very happy with my stint. For Marcel (Fässler) it was very difficult, our track time before the start of the race was very small, but he brought the car home and did a very good job."
Lucas Luhr (Audi R10 TDI #2): "That was a very difficult weekend for us. We almost did no practice in dry conditions. Because I have never been here before, I first had to get to know a few bumps. In the race, I hit a bump when I had to avoid Emanuele (Pirro). I spun, but without further consequences. Five, six corners later I slipped of the brake pedal – again on a pump. It was a hard impact. This was clearly my mistake, I am sorry for the team and I hope that such a thing will not happen again."
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Congratulations to Emanuele (Pirro) and Marcel (Fässler). With their third place they have achieved a good result for Audi. It was not our weekend, we had all the bad luck on our side. We knew that it would be difficult for us, but the fact that we had so many problems is a shame. It's also a shame we were not allowed to repair the car because we know how good Audi is in such a situation."
Dave Maraj (Team Director Audi Sport North America): "It was a tough weekend. We did not have enough track time to do a proper set-up. The cars were in quite good shape and coming here and finishing third overall is a decent result after all that we experienced this weekend. The track did not suit us at all."
The results in Detroit
1 Rossiter/Montagny (Acura/Honda) 104 laps in 2h 46m 15.626s 2 Brabham/Sharp (Acura/Honda) + 3.985s 3 Fässler/Pirro (Audi R10 TDI) + 20.114s (1st in LM P1) 4 de Ferran/Pagenaud (Acura/Honda) + 28.836s 5 Dumas/Bernhard (Porsche) + 59.266s 6 Briscoe/Long (Porsche) + 59.792s 7 Smith/Dyson (Porsche) -1 lap 8 Devlin/Bonilla (Lola-Mazda) - 1 lap 9 Franchitti/Leitzinger (Porsche) - 2 laps 10 Beretta/Gavin (Chevrolet) - 4 laps