Audi drivers well prepared for Le Mans
Date: Wednesday, May 07, 2003 @ 07:35:49 BST
Author: audioc
Topic: Audi in Motorsport

Le Mans: The Audi drivers are extremely well prepared for the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 14/15 June. All three-customer team Audi R8 sports cars were in the top five at the traditional pre-race test on the 13.880 kilometre track. Jan Magnussen set the fastest time, clinching the first round of the internal Audi duel for Audi Sport Japan Team Goh during the one and only, eight-hour test session before the long distance classic in June. “That was definitely my best performance in Le Mans – and I believe we can actually improve for the race,” said Magnussen.

“All three teams have worked perfectly, making excellent use of the testing time available,” explained Head of Audi Sport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. Frank Biela, in the Audi Sport UK Audi R8, occupied fourth place in the overall classification in front of Team ADT Champion Racing, for whom Emanuele Pirro clocked the fastest lap time. “I’m satisfied with today’s work. We never really had a clear lap, but have collected plenty of data for the race,” said the Italian. The three Audi R8 sports cars were separated by a mere eight tents of a second.

After almost seven trouble free hours, Team Audi Sport UK suffered a frightening moment when Frank Biela left the circuit and slid into the barriers after hitting oil at the Porsche Curves in his R8. “The oil warning flags were shown initially after the point where I had the accident, which was obviously too late,” explained the three-time Le Mans winner. “I’m okay, but I’m really sorry to have given my team so much work to repair the R8.”

The teams’ work also continues at full swing until the race in June. “After the cars are disassembled, the teams check every component and evaluate all the data collected from the weekend,” said Dr Wolfgang Ullrich.

1 Capello/Kristensen/Smith (Bentley) 3m 34.820s
2 Ara/Magnussen/Werner (Audi R8) 3m 38.385s
3 Blundell/Brabham/Herbert (Bentley) 3m 38.769s
4 Biela/Salo/McCarthy (Audi R8) 3m 39.016s
5 Johansson/Lehto/Pirro (Audi R8) 3m 39.077s
6 Bosch/Lammers/Wallace (Dome-Judd) 3m 41.535s
7 Goossens/Matthews/Tinseau (Riley & Scott) 3m 41.856s
8 Gabbiant/Gommendy/Ortitz (Dome-Judd) 3m 42.185s
9 Ayari/Helary/Minassian (Courage-Peugeot) 3m 42.485s
10 Cochet/Gregoire/Derichebourg (Courage-Judd) 3m 42.535s

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