Audi triumphs with Diesel power at Sebring
Date: Sunday, March 19, 2006 @ 17:20:52 GMT
Author: audioc
Topic: Audi in Motorsport
The new Audi R10 TDI has immediately written motorsport history in its first outing: Dindo Capello (Italy), Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Allan McNish (Scotland) won the 12-hour race at Sebring (USA) achieving the first ever victory of a Diesel powered sportscar. Tom Kristensen became the first driver to win America's most famous endurance race for a fourth time, achieving another record after his record seventh Le Mans victory from last year.

30 degrees Celsius in the shade, high humidity and asphalt temperatures reaching up to 43 degrees, caused especially difficult circumstances on the Florida track which is one of the most demanding in the world. Allan McNish had already shown the potential of the 650-hp V12 TDI engine with a record-breaking pole position time in qualifying. Because the heat exchanger had to be replaced after the morning warm-up, Dindo Capello was forced to start the number two R10 TDI from the pit-lane starting his chase from the back of the field.

It took Capello only half an hour before he had moved from 35th and last position to second just behind the sister car of Frank Biela. Shortly before the end of the second hour, the Italian took the lead, which the number two R10 TDI kept until the finish. Only changing the fuel filter and two loose wheel nuts caused unscheduled pit-stops.

The number one Audi R10 TDI that had clearly led the race for the first two hours did not reach the finish. The car driven by Frank Biela (Germany), Emanuele Pirro (Italy) and Marco Werner (Germany) was withdrawn just before one-third distance due to an overheated engine.

The reason: Shortly after the start of the race, the telemetry system of car number one, that transmits the data from the car to the pits, had stopped working. As a consequence, Audi Sport's engine technicians had no data at all for the whole distance. When Marco Werner reported high water temperatures via radio during the fourth hour of the race, the second placed R10 TDI was called into the pits. The team discovered radiators completely blocked by tyre rubber. After cleaning the radiators, the temperatures sank immediately. However, Team Audi Sport North America decided to precautionary withdraw the second placed R10 TDI from the race because the engine had been running with significantly high temperatures for an extended period.

Audi Race Facts #1 (10:43 - 13:43)

- Audi #2 starts from pit lane
- Audi #1 damages bodywork after contact with a slower car
- Audi lead 1-2 after three hours of racing

10:43 Start of the race, Audi R10 TDI #2 starts from pit lane due to a change of the heat exchanger, #1 takes lead from the start
Start drivers: #1 Biela - #2 Capello
11:19 #2 Audi R10 TDI #2 takes over second position
11:43 Audi R10 TDI #1 1st, Audi R10 TDI #2 2nd
11:43 #1 pit stop: diesel refuelling only
11:44 #2 pit stop: diesel refuelling only
12:10 #1 spin, but no damage on the car
12:33 #1 contact with slower car, front end damaged
12:39 #1 pit stop: diesel refuelling, new tyres, new front body work, Biela out, Werner in
12:43 Audi R10 TDI #2 1st, Audi R10 TDI #1 2nd
12:49 #2 pit stop: diesel refuelling, new tyres, Capello out, Kristensen in
13:26 #1 pit stop: diesel refuelling, new front body work
13:43 Audi R10 TDI #2 1st, Audi R10 TDI #1 2nd

Quotes

Frank Biela (after his first two stints): "I was very happy with my first stint, the car was really good. After refuelling, I was struggling a little bit. With more laps on the tyres, the car started to oversteer. That was not very comfortable. After going off line to avoid a GT car I spun out of Turn 16, which honestly is quite unusual for me. Later I had contact with another GT car, damaging the nose of my car and taking off the dive plates. That's why we came in early for a full-service."

Dindo Capello (after his first two stints): "I was surprised how good the car was at the beginning. The grip was really good and the car nice to drive. After the pit stop, I had a few laps with heavy traffic which caused a lot of pick-up on the tyres. After this, the car was very tricky to drive, it was easy to make mistakes. I just was careful with the steering wheel and the throttle to avoid mistakes."

Audi Race Facts #2 (13:43 - 16:43)

- Audi withdraws R10 TDI #1
- Overheated engine consequence of telemetry failure
- Audi R10 TDI #2 still leading the field

Time Audi # Facts
13:43 Audi R10 TDI #2 1st, Audi R10 TDI #1 2nd
14:06 #2 pit stop: diesel refuelling only
14:16 #1 pit stop: diesel refuelling only
14:35 #1 Audi withdraws Audi R10 TDI due to an overheated engine as a consequence of a telemetry failure
14:43 Audi R10 TDI #2 1st
15:07 #2 pit stop: diesel refuelling, new tyres, Kristensen out, McNish in
15:43 Audi R10 TDI #2 1st
16:24 #2 pit stop: diesel refuelling, new tires
16:43 Audi R10 TDI #2 1st

Quotes

Tom Kristensen (after his two stints): "Our R10 TDI is a real racing car. Over two stints you can drive it very precisely which is a combination of the diesel power and the immense torque. It's simply pure fun to drive it. Our tyres lost a little grip in the second stint, but it was less than I expected because we were driving in the peak of the day's temperature."

Marco Werner (after his two stints): "After the opening hours of the race, we know that we would have had the pace to go for victory. It's a shame that the race is over for us. But although we stopped, I have to give great credit to Audi and the team for their hard work. While others work on their projects at home and without spectators, Audi faces the diesel challenge on the racetrack. Now I keep my fingers crossed for our companion car."

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Because of the non-operational telemetry system, our engineers could not see that the engine was running too hot due to the blocked radiators. The risk of an engine failure was too high. For us, this race is a test entry for Le Mans."

Audi statement on withdrawing car #1

Team Audi Sport North America has withdrawn the #1 Audi R10 TDI in the 12 Hours of Sebring (USA) just before one-third distance due to an overheated engine. Shortly after the start, the car's telemetry system, that transmits the data from the car to the pits, had stopped working. As a consequence, Audi Sport's engine technicians had no data at all for the whole distance.

When Marco Werner reported high water temperatures via radio during the fourth hour of the race, the second placed R10 TDI was called into the pits. The team discovered radiators completely blocked by tyre rubber. After cleaning the radiators, the temperatures sank immediately. However, Team Audi Sport North America decided to precautionary withdraw the second placed R10 TDI from the race because the engine had been running with significantly high temperatures for an extended period.

Audi Race Facts #3 (16:43 - 19:43)

- Audi R10 TDI #2 still leading after nine hours
- Allan McNish with three consecutive stints
- Three cars within only five laps at the top

Time Audi # Facts
16:43 Audi R10 TDI #2 1st
17:42 #2 pit stop: diesel refuelling only
17:43 Audi R10 TDI #2 1st
18:43 Audi R10 TDI #2 1st
18:49 #2 pit stop: diesel refuelling, new tyres, McNish out, Capello in
18:57 #2 pit stop: fixing the right rear wheel
19:43 Audi R10 TDI #2 1st

Quotes

Allan McNish (after his three stints): "It wasn't really planned that I would do three stints, but with the safety car and the opportunity to change tyres a little bit earlier, it was the best solution. It was difficult because when I was behind the RS4 safety car, the tyres collected a lot of pickup and it took quite a while to get rid of it. I tried to drive very clear, be precise in the traffic, and not go over the kerbs so as to make sure that we kept our advantage."

Audi Race Facts #4 (19:43 - 22:43)

- Audi R10 TDI #2 wins the 12-hour race at Sebring
- First victory of a diesel sportscar in endurance racing
- Four wins at Sebring: another record for Tom Kristensen

Time Audi # Facts
19:43 Audi R10 TDI #2 1st
20:04 #2 pit stop: diesel refuelling only
20:43 Audi R10 TDI #2 1st
21:10 #2 pit stop: diesel refuelling, new tyres, Capello out, Kristensen in
21:43 Audi R10 TDI #2 1st
21:57 #2 pit stop: diesel refuelling and adjusting headlights
22:43 Audi R10 TDI #2 1st

Quotes

Dindo Capello (after his third and fourth stint): "I started when it was already dark. I had a scary moment when I felt something coming lose at the rear and I had to come in. One rear nut was damaged and lose. We changed the tyres again and then everything was okay. I looked for a good pace without taking any risks. The main problem was big pick-up on the front tyres. It was better to slow down and bring the car home."

Quotes after the race at Sebring

Prof Dr Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of AUDI AG: "Audi has once again written motorsport history, this time by being the first manufacturer to win an endurance race with a diesel powered sportscar. This impressively confirms the efficiency of the modern TDI technology. It is especially remarkable that this success was achieved at the very first race of the new Audi R10 TDI. The whole team from Audi Sport and the Technical Development of Audi has once again done a great job. I thank everyone who is participating in this ambitious project."

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "This has been a very tough race and thus a good test for Le Mans. To get the first victory for a TDI engine after our pole position is fantastic. We showed today what's in our new sportscar with a Diesel engine. Thanks to the whole crew from Audi Sport and Team Joest. Of course it is a shame that we couldn't bring both cars to the finish. But we learned a lot today and know that it is still a long way to Le Mans."

Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Audi has again done something extraordinary. With this victory we really make a new chapter about motorsport history. It reminds me when Audi started rallying with the quattro to show that four-wheel drive is good not only for farm vehicles. When Audi announced it would go racing with a Diesel engine, maybe many people did not take us seriously. But I think now they will not laugh anymore about us."

Tom Kristensen (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Audi had the courage to put such a young car into a race at an early stage. It paid off. I know how many people have been working very hard for this and I would like to thank all of them. I have to say many thanks especially to the mechanics. What they did after the warm-up was a job which normally is not done in this short amount of time. Thanks also to my colleagues Allan and Dindo who drove very well. Crossing the finish line was a historic moment for the Diesel technology. I know that Audi has a good image in America. I'm sure the image of Audi TDI will be soon as good in the US."

Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #2): "The whole team should be very proud - we have created a little piece of history. In a few years time, people will look back and realise this was a monumental moment, not only in Audi Sport history, but also in motorsport where the first ever Diesel engine won an international race. We all worked very hard for this one. And we will all be celebrating a lot tonight. "

Frank Biela (Audi R10 TDI #1): "The first victory with a Diesel engine and for the R10 TDI is a great story. Especially if you have in mind that we had not so much time. The roll-out happened quite recently. You can only take your hat off to Audi Sport for this achievement. We had a superb car at the beginning of the race. But things like this can happen, that's racing. Now we have to keep our heads up, look forward, show the same performance at Le Mans and finish the race there."

Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #1): "In motor racing you can have mechanical problems sometimes. Of course there is sadness for us because a little problem prevented us from having a good battle for the win. Despite that, it has been a positive weekend. One of the two cars won its first race, this is a big achievement and a big reward for all the work all of us did in developing the R10 TDI. I keep my full confidence for the very big race which is Le Mans."

Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #1): "We had good race speed, and as long we were in the race, things went without problems. Of course it is a shame we had to stop prematurely. Despite that, my thanks to Audi and Team Joest. The boys had a lot of work this weekend. Audi faced stiff competition after such a short period of testing. Others often don't have the courage to do this in public."

Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director, Team Audi Sport North America): "We are happy about the success because we have been working extremely hard for that. It's even more important we learned a lot of things - we can take home a long list and work towards Le Mans. This will happen with a lot of joy because we have seen the potential the R10 TDI has and that the concept is right. Losing one car very early was not nice, and I really feel sorry for the guys of car number one. They also worked through many nights."

Race

1. (1) Rinaldo Capello, Italy; Tom Kristensen, Denmark; Allan McNish, Scotland; Audi R10 TDI Power (1, P1), 349.
2. (28) Jon Field, Dublin, OH; Clint Field, Dublin, OH; Liz Halliday, Rancho Santa Fe, CA; Lola B05/40 AER (2, P2), 345.
3. (12) Oliver Gavin, England; Olivier Beretta, Monaco; Jan Magnussen, Denmark; Corvette C6-R (3, GT1), 338.
4. (10) Stephane Sarrazin, France; Jason Bright, Australia; Pedro Lamy, Lisbon Portugal; Aston Martin DB9 (4, GT1), 337.
5. (6) James Weaver, England; Butch Leitzinger, State College, PA; Andy Wallace, England; Lola B06/10 AER (5, P1), 336.
6. (11) Darren Turner, England; Nicolas Kiesa, Denmark; Tomas Enge, Czech Republic; Aston Martin DB9 (6, GT1), 324.
7. (13) Ron Fellows, Canada; Johnny OConnell, Flowery Branch, GA; Max Papis, Italy; Corvette C6-R (7, GT1), 324.
8. (3) Lucas Luhr, Germany; Emmanuel Collard, France; Sascha Maassen, Germany; Porsche RS Spyder (8, P2), 323, Mechanical.
9. (15) David Brabham, Australia; Sebastien Bourdais, France; Scott Maxwell, Canada; Panoz Esperante GTLM (9, GT2), 320.
10. (20) Marc Lieb, Germany; Johannes vanOverbeek, San Francisco, CA; Jon Fogarty, Los Gatos, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (10, GT2), 320.

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