Despite only qualifying fourth for the inaugural Lone Star Grand Prix at Houston, the Audi R8 of Dindo Capello and Alan McNish survived the bumpy and twisting Texan streets to win from the Corvette of Oliver Gavin and Oliver Beretta.

The Audi win, despite a strict weight penalty, gives the car its 62nd win from 78 races the switch back to conventional fuel after winning with the R10 diesel at Sebring doing nothing to upset the Audi flow.

"I was surprised how good the car really was in the race," said a delighted Capello after the race. "We could keep pace right behind the Porsche. We have no traction control and were very heavy out of the corners. Now we are in 2006 and this car should not have been as competitive as it was today."

Capello's team mate emerged equally delighted as the Audi team weathered the attrition where its closest rivals, the Penske Porsche's that looked so strong in qualifying and the Dyson Lola's fell by the wayside.

"That was Possibly one of the hardest races for the Audi R8 on a very demanding, bumpy and slippery circuit - not ideal for a car originally designed for Le Mans," said McNish. "Dindo was superb, the team very clever with its pit-stops in a very tough race. I'm proud to have achieved another win for the R8."

The Penske Porsche duo could not follow on from an excellent second and third in qualifying with the LMP2 machines suffering mechanical woes during the punishing race.

The Romain Dumas/Timo Bernhard Porsche managed to lead 71 of the 143 laps and looked strong before a drivetrain problem sidelined the car. The sister Penske Porsche of Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr had a trying race suffering a puncture after contact with the winning Audi and were also hit with drivetrain problems before limping home third in class.

Behind the all conquering Audi was the Corvette Racing C6.R piloted by Gavin and Beretta, winning the GT1 class for the seventh time in a row and also claiming the highest finish for a GT1 car in ALMS history.

The sister Corvette of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell came home second, dealing well with the punishing circuit and followed Audi's lead by tasting success despite added ballast.

"Today really shows the strength of the Corvette, even with the added weight," stated Gavin. "This win is thanks to our team and Olivier. We had problems with brakes, tires and overheating. Every single time there seems to be a hurdle, our team jumps over it."

In the Corvette battle the deciding moment came as Gavin passed O'Connell as the latter exited the pitlane and the Corvettes crucially beat the pair of rival Aston Martins, with the lead Aston of Tomas Enge and Darren Turner in the 007 machine a lap down in fourth.

Poleman James Weaver in the Dyson Lola ended up sixth and second in LMP1, however did not enjoy the same form in the race that occurred in qualifying, finishing nine laps behind the victorious Audi.

Liz Halliday and Clint Field followed on from Sebring susses in the LMP2 class with the Intersport Racing Lola, nursing a loss of power throughout the final twenty minutes of the race to take his fourteenth career win and his team mate Halliday now ties with Milka Duno for the most victories by a female driver in the ALMS.

"I came down the straight and it made a wicked noise and I lost power but I knew what the problem was because we had the same problem earlier in the week," said Field. "Then I passed the yellow Porsche and I thought this is too good to be true. We came in and they safety tied it back together and it held."

Alex Job racing came out on top in a thrilling GT2 scrap as Mike Rockenfeller and Klaus Graf, made all the more impressive as the duo came from the back of the grid to take victory and seventh overall.

Rockenfeller had to make up for his team mate's error in qualifying as Graf spun and flat spotted a tyre on Thursday night's qualifying session and launched the Porsche 911 GT3 from the tail of the grid to win in GT2.

"We knew after qualifying that we had a pretty good car," confirmed Rockenfeller. "I could push from the beginning and I tried to stay calm. I didn't want to push and getting points after a tough race at Sebring was good."


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