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Crash.Net ALMS News
Biela and Pirro reign in the rain at Mosport
19 August 2001
Audi drivers Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro triumphed in a race of attrition at Mosport today, taking a rain soaked victory over the Panoz of David Brabham and Jan Magnussen.
The race began under a torrential downpour with Dindo Capello (Audi), Frank Lagorce (Audi) and Andy Wallace (Audi) all crashing off the circuit on the opening lap at turn five.
Lagorce was unable to continue while Capello faced a long delay in the pits. Capello's team-mate Tom Kristensen later crashed heavily, putting the points-leading Audi out of the event.
Jan Magnussen held the early lead after a storming start in the Panoz, but David Brabham was later delayed when he was forced off circuit by a spinning Dodge Viper.
Johnny Herbert looked set to complete a stunning comeback after Wallace's lap one spin, but he was forced off the circuit and crashed heavily with about 15 minutes remaining.
The Cadillac pair of Emanuele Collard and Christophe Tinseau held on to grab the final spot on the podium.
The Audi team grabbed the advantage when they brought Pirro in for a fuel-only stop, keeping the car in the lead but giving up a one-lap cushion.
''We needed this win,'' said Pirro, who teamed with Biela and Tom Kristensen to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June for the second straight year. ''Our car was good and the team made the right call in the pits to get us the win.''
Brabham was delighted to earn the third successive podium for the Panoz team after a lean start to the season. “I am pleased to finish second, although obviously we would have preferred to be first,” Brabham said.
“Half way through the race it was looking pretty good and then the pit stops
didn¹t really work our way. The Viper spinning in front of me was a bit
unfortunate, especially when he kept coming at me. I was on the loose stuff
and couldn¹t avoid him. He hit me and I thought had damaged the steering on
our car so I had to come in and check it out.”
Didier de Radigues and Bruno Lambert took victory in the LMP 675 division after starting from the rear of the grid when they failed a post-qualifying inspection.
Ron Fellows and Johnny O¹Connell brought their battered Corvette home first in GTS. Fellows crashed after being forced off line, but the team were still able hold off the Saleen of Franz Konrad and Terry Borcheller.
BMW's great run in GT continued with JJ Lehto and Jorg Muller also coming from the rear of grid to beat team-mates Dirk Muller and Frederick Ekblom.
The American Le Mans Series visits the Mid-Ohio circuit next weekend for round six of the championship.
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