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Kristensen/Capello take birthday win

7 July 2002


Birthday boy Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello came back from two in-race penalties to win the American Le Mans Series Road America 500 presented by the Chicago Tribune Sunday at Road America.

Co-driving an Audi R8 Prototype, Denmark's Kristensen and Italy's Capello scored a 32.172-second win over the Audi driven by Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro. The two factory team cars battled side-by-side on several occasions during the event, but the winning car led the final hour of the race after the runner-up had to pit due to a cut tire.

Kristensen, who was celebrating his 35th birthday, and Capello made only one driver change during the event, which was run under sweltering heat at the four-mile racing circuit located between Milwaukee and Green Bay.

Capello, who drove the second half of the race, received a stop-and-go penalty for passing before the green on a restart, and a second penalty for passing during a yellow flag.

''The first penalty I agreed with, but the second one made me angry,'' said Capello. ''We were fortunate that another full-course yellow came out after that to equalize the cars, and then Frank had a tire puncture.''

''Emanuele and I raced very hard during the early part of the race,'' said Kristensen. ''There were a few times when a phone book from a very small city wouldn't have fit between our cars.''

Johnny Herbert and Stefan Johansson finished third, giving Audis a sweep of the top three positions. A Panoz LMP-1 of David Brabham and Jan Magnussen had been in contention for much of the race but retired due to a mechanical problem.

Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim co-drove a Chevrolet Corvette C5-R to a one-lap win in the GTS class, snapping the three-race winning streak of fellow Corvette drivers Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell, who finished second.

Germans Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister took their first American Le Mans Series wins in the GT class, driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Bergmeister passed Sascha Maassen for the lead on the next-to-last lap of the event.

Ben Devlin, Larry Oberto and Peter MacLeod won the LMP 675 class for smaller Prototypes by just over a minute in a Lola B2K40-Ford.


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