Audi Powers To Win Pole For Generac 500

August 10, 2007, Elkhart Lake, WI – Perception is reality as the saying goes. But with Audi winning the pole for the Generac 500 American LeMans Series race at Road America 500, perception doesn?t always lead to reality. The dominating diesel-powered Audi Sport North America won only its second overall pole of the year, the first since the season opener in Sebring. Allan McNish?s record breaking lap broke the mark he set last year at Road America by 1.5 seconds and was 0.371 seconds better than teammate Marco Werner. McNish and Dindo Capello will team in the #1 Audi pole-sitting entry with defending race winner Emanuele Pirro joining Werner in the #2 Audi LMP1.

The Audi has an ability to flex its muscle on its long straightaways whereas the Audi as struggled on the tighter street circuits and natural terrain tracks which have dominated the schedule. McNish commented after qualifying, “The circuit is obviously bigger and faster than normal compared to what we have had previously,” he said. “We knew we would be more competitive, and there have been some developments with our car. When we talk about changing the car, we’re not talking about a lot. But little details do add up. We think about the whole race weekend as a unit and we’ve explored it deeper than we ever have before.”

McNish Added, ?From a team perspective, it is very important to have this pole position, everyone is standing a bit taller than they were before and they are more confident and upbeat. There is always an advantage from the overall pole. If you’re in the pack, you have more of a chance of being in an incident. So we’re in the position of being in control. It may not factor in the outcome but it’s nice to throw down the gauntlet. Without a doubt pole position is the best seat in the house.”

The Penske RS Spyder piloted by Romain Dumas qualified third overall and first in P2. Dumas and Timo Bernhard have rallied against the Audi?s by winning three overall events this year including the last race at Mid-Ohio. Penske?s Porsches have won five straight overall victories dating back to Long Beach in April.

“We will do like we have all season: compete for the class win and we will see about the overall race,” Dumas said. “We have to expect competition from the Acuras because they are very close. You can see in GT2 that there has been great competition in GT2 with Ferrari, Porsche and Panoz. It is the same now in P2.”

Many believe that the RS Spyders may surprise many at Road America, but Dumas and Porsche team acknowledge that the Audi?s have a definite advantage.

“We are quicker in the fast corners, and here you have a lot of them. That’s where we pick up time,” Dumas said. “We all the time compare all the cars together, including Audi. We want to see where we are losing time and in what corners. We are always looking to gain a little bit of time.”

Jan Magnussen won his fourth career pole and second of the season for popular Corvette Racing in GT1. The Dane qualified the No. 3 Corvette C6.R 0.086 seconds ahead of teammate class championship leader Olivier Beretta. Beretta and Oliver Gavin have won six of seven races this season and the last three in a row.

“Our qualifying run went very well,” Magnussen said. “This is the first time I’ve been here since 2003 and I’ve been looking forward to driving the Corvette around here. Johnny is very strong here and should be very good for the race. The track has gotten better and better. The main thing about our car is that this is the most professional team out there. We always get the best out of them no matter the event.”

Veteran Didier Theys qualified third in class driving the Doran Racing Maserati MC12, one second behind Magnussen in the car’s first run in the American Le Mans Series.

“The more competition the better,” Magnussen said. “The Maserati is very fast. I’m not sure of its configuration but am very happy to see it here. Hopefully it will be back, and hopefully the Astons will be back for a couple of races.

“When I saw that its lap times were getting better, we were all waiting to see how low it would go. It’s a very good car.”
Jaime Melo captured his third class GT2 pole and second straight of the season in the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT (Mika Salo will co-drive in race). Melo?s lap of 2:07.191 was a class record. Melo was almost a half-second over Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing’s Dirk Muller, also in a Ferrari. This is the first time at Road America for the four drivers in the front-row Ferraris.

“To be honest it was not very hard. We have a good car,” Melo said. “During the last practice session I had a very good lap time. I think the car is harder to drive in the race than in qualifying. We just have work hard for it. We need to be a little conservative in the beginning and go for it later.”

Melo and his team are prepared for anything, “Anything can happen,” he said. “For sure we will try to keep the same driver in for two hours to gain some time. But we don’t know yet for certain and haven’t decided. We have two or three ideas how to decide and it depends on the speed of the drivers.”

The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Generac 500 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. The four-hour race is scheduled for 4 p.m. CT on Saturday, August 11. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage at, which also will feature IMSA Live Timing & Scoring. NBC Sports will broadcast the race from 2:30-4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 12.

Generac 500
Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis.
Friday’s qualifying
1. Dindo Capello, Italy; Allan McNish, Scotland; Audi AG/R10/TDI (P1), 1:47.665, 135.35
2. Emanuele Pirro, Italy; Marco Werner, Germany; Audi AG/R10/TDI (P1), 1:48.036, 134.89
3. Timo Bernhard, Germany; Romain Dumas, France; Porsche RS Spyder (P2), 1:48.833, 133.90
4. Sascha Maassen, Germany; Ryan Briscoe, Australia; Porsche RS Spyder (P2), 1:49.117, 133.55
5. Stefan Johansson, Sweden; David Brabham, Australia; Duncan Dayton, North Salem, NY; Acura/ARX-01a (P2), 1:49.767, 132.76
6. Marino Franchitti, Scotland; Bryan Herta, Valencia, CA; Acura/ARX-01a (P2), 1:50.100, 132.36
7. Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, NY; Guy Smith, England; Porsche RS Spyder (P2), 1:50.311, 132.11
8. Luis Diaz, Mexico; Adrian Fernandez, Mexico; Lola/B06-43/Acura (P2), 1:51.265, 130.97
9. Butch Leitzinger, State College, PA; Andy Wallace, England; Porsche RS Spyder (P2), 1:51.289, 130.95
10. Ben Devlin, England; Jamie Bach, Saukville, WI; Lola/B07-46/Mazda (P2), 1:52.877, 129.10
11. Clint Field, Dublin, OH; Richard Berry, Evergreen, CO; Jon Field, Dublin, OH; Creation/CA06H/Judd (P1), 1:53.544, 128.34
12. Greg Pickett, Alamo, CA; Klaus Graf, Germany; Lola B06/10 AER (P1), 1:55.249, 126.45
13. Chris McMurry, Phoenix, AZ; Bryan Willman, Kirkland, WA; Michael Lewis, San Diego, CA; Creation CA06H-Judd (P1), 1:55.707, 125.95
14. Johnny O`Connell, Flowery Branch, GA; Jan Magnussen, Denmark; Corvette C6.R (GT1), 2:00.973, 120.46
15. Oliver Gavin, England; Olivier Beretta, Monaco; Corvette C6.R (GT1), 2:01.059, 120.38
16. Didier Theys, Belgium; Fredy Lienhard Sr., Switzerland; Maserati MC 12 (GT1), 2:01.978, 119.47
17. Mika Salo, Finland; Jaime Melo, Brazil; Ferrari 430GT Berlinetta (GT2), 2:07.191, 114.57
18. Dirk Mueller, Germany; Peter Dumbreck, Scotland; Ferrari 430GT (GT2), 2:07.609, 114.20
19. Eric Helary, France; Gianmaria Bruni, Italy; Ferrari 430GT Berlinetta (GT2), 2:07.858, 113.98
20. Jorg Bergmeister, Germany; Johannes van Overbeek, San Francisco, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 2:08.162, 113.71
21. Ralf Kelleners, Germany; Tom Milner, Leesburg, VA; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 2:08.630, 113.29
22. Bill Auberlen, Hermosa Beach, CA; Joey Hand, Sacramento, CA; Panoz Esperante GTLM (GT2), 2:09.055, 112.92
23. Wolf Henzler, Germany; Robin Liddell, Scotland; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 2:09.629, 112.42
24. Jim Tafel, Alpharetta, GA; Dominik Farnbacher, Germany; Nathan Swartzbaugh, La Habra Heights, LA; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 2:09.740, 112.32
25. Seth Neiman, Burlingame, CA; Darren Law, Phoenix, AZ; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), No Time.
26. Tim Pappas, Boston, MA; Terry Borcheller, Vero Beach, FL; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), No Time.

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