Tom Kristensen took pole position for the opening round of the European Le Mans Series at Donington Park, England, after a thrilling battle with works Audi team mate Frank Biela.
Both Audis struggled to get heat into their front tyres in chilly conditions at the East Midlands venue, and took a number of warm-up laps to gain the requisite temperature.
Kristensen set the first marker at 1m21.4s, before a brief off on to the grass on his next flyer at Redgate. That opened the door to Biela, who shaved a tenth off that time to wrest pole away.
Without time to come in and regroup, Kristensen stayed out and beat Biela's time by two-tenths of a second.
"I wasn't happy with my first lap, then ran wide on my second attempt at turn one," said 'TK'. "The team told me Frank had gone quicker, so I did one slow lap and went for it again. Although it was good enough for pole, I wasn't happy with it. I was three-tenths up going into the chicane on my last attempt, but by then the tyres were past their best and I couldn't keep it going.
"It's my first sportscar pole that I've driven for, so I'm really happy," added the Dane.
Stefan Johansson set the third quickest time before suffering a big shunt on the exit of Redgate, even though he was on his way back to the pits at the time. His Gulf-backed Audi ran wide on to the grass, completely missed the gravel trap, and understeered into the tyrewall which lines the top of the Craner Curves.
"It was a ****ing silly accident," said the former F1 star. "I was on my slow down lap - I wasn't even going fast. I think the engine cut out or something, I lost concentration and got half a wheel on the grass and it became like a magnet. I tried and tried to save it, but it just wouldn't come back. At least the damage is repairable."
The Chrysler Oreca of Olivier Beretta and Yannick Dalmas was unable to gatecrash the Audi party, setting the fourth quickest time on 1m22.721s. That was over a second clear of the Courage C60 of Jean-Christophe Boullion.
The Ascari squad worked wonders to get Werner Lupberger back on track after he snapped a driveshaft on his out lap. It took just 15mins to repair the offending item, and the South African rewarded his team's swift work with sixth place, ahead of David Brabham's works Panoz.
Oliver Gavin unsurprisingly topped the GTS class times, his Konrad-run Saleen S7R over three seconds quicker than its RML-run equivalent of Bruno Lambert/Ian McKellar Jnr. The second placed Saleen only turned a wheel for the first time yesterday, and McKellar says he's still getting to grips with the left-hand drive machine.
Gavin, who shares his Saleen with Franz Konrad, said: "It's a shame the RML car was completed so late and isn't more competition for us, but it's always nice to be on pole. Hopefully we can turn it into a win tomorrow."
BMW's Fredrik Ekblom took pole for the GT category, aided by the non-appearance of the second Schnitzer M3 GTR of JJ Lehto/Dirk Muller due to a problem with its controversial V8 engine. The Swede, who partners Dirk Muller, was 0.3secs quicker than the Alex Job Porsche 911 GT3-RS of Christian Menzel, who shares with Randy Pobst.
"It's a great start for us here," said Ekblom. "It's a bit disappointing that the other car didn't run, because it would've been harder for us, for sure. Porsche is going to be strong competition tomorrow. Their strongest point is fuel economy, which is our worst. We might have to make one extra pit stop."
1 Rinaldo Capello/Tom Kristensen, works Audi R8, 1m21.122s
2 Emanuele Pirro/Frank Biela, works Audi R8, 1m21.281s
3 Stefan Johansson/Guy Smith, Johansson Audi R8, 1m21.678s
4 Yannick Dalmas/Olivier Beretta, Chrysler Oreca, 1m22.721s
5 J-C Boullion/Larent Redon, Courage C60, 1m23.899s
6 Werner Lupberger/Ben Collins, Ascari A410, 1m24.117s
7 Jan Magnussen/David Brabham, works Panoz LMP07, 1m24.817s
8 Jay Cochran/Peter Boss, Westward Panoz LMP07, 1m26.242s
9 Klaus Graf/Gualter Salles, works Panoz, 1m27.329s
LMP675 class leader
Martin O'Connell/Warren Carway, Pilbeam MP84, 1m27.971s
GTS class leader
Franz Konrad/Oliver Gavin, Konrad Saleen S7R, 1m28.000s
GT class leader
Fredrik Ekblom/Dirk Muller, Schnitzer BMW GTR, 1m33.724s
Abu Dhabi / Results
Standings / After 17 races
|Browse full championship table|
|Emilia Romagna||Imola||18 Apr|
|Monaco||Monte Carlo||23 May|
|See full Formula 1 calendar|
Experience it Live Buy tickets to Formula 1 races with Autosport's preferred ticketing provider
Berlin / Results
|2||Nyck de Vries||47m23.447s|
Standings / After 11 races
|1||Antonio Felix da Costa||158|
|Browse full championship table|
|Diriyah||Diriyah||26 Feb 2021|
|Diriyah||Diriyah||27 Feb 2021|
|See full Formula E calendar|
Experience it Live Buy tickets to races with Autosport's preferred ticketing provider
More on Autosport
|Download the Autosport app Available on iOS and Android|
|Autosport Video Discover the best motorsport videos on the web|
|Photos The best photography from around the world|
|Le Mans Esports Series A new series from the ACO & Motorsport Network|
|Forix Stats The world's best motorsport stats database|
|Autosport Digital Magazine Read or download today. New issue out every week.|
|Autosport Awards Motorsport's most prestigious awards.|
|Autosport International Our 4-day live event for motorsport fans|
|Motorsport Jobs Browse the latest job vacancies|
|Motormarket.com Search from almost 4,500 motorsport businesses|