Audi R15 TDI on front row at “farewell”

30 degrees in the shade and 56 cars on mere six-kilometer long race track – the conditions for the season opener of the Le Mans Intercontinental Cup (ILMC) at Sebring (U.S. state of Florida) could hardly be more difficult. Audi is in a good shape for the classic U.S. endurance race with positions two and four on the starting grid.
In its tenth and last race, the Audi R15 TDI has to run with significantly reduced engine power due to the new technical regulations. Nevertheless, Frenchman Romain Dumas, in his first-ever qualifying session for Audi, was able to split the two new Peugeot 908 prototypes and to conquer an unexpected place on the front row of the grid for Audi Sport Team Joest with the "old” R15 TDI.
During the 15-minute qualifying session, Tom Kristensen was on a similarly fast lap as his team-mate, before losing time in the final corner behind a slower car. Thus the second Audi R15 TDI will start the race from grid position four on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. local time (3:30 p.m in Germany).
Due to the high temperatures and an extremely large starting field of 56 cars from a total of six classes, the Audi team during the four practice days exclusively focused on race preparations of the two Audi R15 TDI cars making them as comfortable as possible for the drivers. Reliability will also play a decisive role over the 12-hour distance on the extremely tough track. Historically, this has been a major strength of the record winning car of the Le Mans 24 Hours.


Quotes after qualifying
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "It is certainly a good base for a 12-hour race if you are on the first two rows with both your cars. Especially when you know that it will be a very difficult race with so many cars and certainly a lot of caution periods. Tomorrow it will be important to make no strategic mistakes and that everybody stays calm, even if the things might get hot on the track from time to time.”

Dindo Capello (Audi R15 TDI #2): "We have been here for a week and as always, the track is always different. What works one day doesn’t work the next. We are looking forward to the race and know that we have an advantage compared to our competitors with our open car with so many cars on track. We knew that in qualifying we would not be on pole but for the race I think we have a good car to fight until the end for overall victory.”

Sebring 2011 Dindo Capello