Biela and Pirro take radio-controlled Texas win

A faulty pits-to-car radio cost Allan McNish and Dindo Capello certain victory in Saturday evening's seventh round of the American Le Mans Series. The Anglo-Italian pairing dominated the race at the Texas Motor Speedway, but their last-minute splash-and-dash fuel stop resulted in victory for Audi team mates Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro in searing 40-degree heat

Biela and Pirro take radio-controlled Texas win

Biela had made his final fuel stop during a safety-car period with 40 minutes of the race to go, but the Joest-run team was unable to summon the race leader into the pits because radio communications were down and he continued for as long as he could.

Capello was devastated by their poor fortune. "I'm upset because I thought our run of bad luck this year was over," said the Italian. "The lap times speak for themselves. We were the faster car today."

Pirro acknowledged that it was a lucky victory, but pointed out that in the Mosport ALMS round four weeks ago, it was he who had lost near-certain victory in the closing stages. "To be honest, I'd prefer not to win a race in this way, but it's still a victory."

The Panoz Roadster of Jan Magnussen and David Brabham finished a distant third in the race lasting two hours and 45 minutes, one lap down on the two Audi R8s. This pairing easily had the legs of the rest of the field, but couldn't quite match the German cars. "We couldn't really compete today," he said. "It was a bit boring, actually."

The best of the BMW V12 LMRs, driven by JJ Lehto and Jorg Muller, could only finish fourth, the first time the 1999 Le Mans-winning design has failed to get onto the podium in its two-year career. Muller lost time with an unscheduled stop near the end after being punted up the rear by a slower car. The second BMW of Jean-Marc Gounon and Bill Auberlen would have been fourth had not the factory Schnitzer team not instituted team orders to give its two championship challengers a couple of extra points.

Another run came to an end in the heat of the Texas night. One of the ORECA team's Dodge Viper GTS-Rs failed to win the GTS class for the first time since the team joined the series over one year ago. Factory Chevrolet driver Ron Fellows and Andy Pilgrim led every lap on the way to a first victory for the Corvette C5-R.

Problems for the two Vipers meant that the final margin of victory was three laps, but ex-pat Englishman Pilgrim was confident that they would have won come what may. "It would have been close, but we were holding them. We had plenty in hand if they had come at us."

The Dick Barbour Porsche of Dirk Muller and Lucas Luhr dominated the GT class only for the latter to be punted out of the lead with less than half an hour to go. A pitstop for a front tyre dropped the car to third behind the similar Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3-R driven by Randy Pobst and Bruno Lambert and the second Barbour car.

The ALMS resumes at Portland, Oregan, next weekend.


1 Emanuele Pirro/Frank Biela (Audi R8) 127 laps, 2hr45m46.367s
2 Allan McNish/Rinaldo Capello (Audi R8) 127 laps, 2hr45m59.940s
3 Jan Magnussen/David Brabham (Panoz LMP Roadster) 126 laps
4 JJ Lehto/Jorg Muller (BMW V12 LMR) 124 laps
5 Bill Auberlen/Jean-Marc Gounon (BMW V12 LMR) 124 laps
6 Johnny O'Connell/Hiroki Katoh (Panoz LMP Roadster S) 123 laps
GTS Ron Fellows/Andy Pilgrim (Chevrolet Corvette C5-R) 116 laps
GT Randy Pobst/Bruno Lambert (Porsche 911 GT3-R) 112 laps

shares
comments
Lausitzring FIA GT: Porsche’s rain parade

Previous article

Lausitzring FIA GT: Porsche’s rain parade

Next article

Saleen under fire from class rivals

Saleen under fire from class rivals
Load comments
Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60 Plus

Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60

It’s 60 years since the Jaguar E-type arrived and caused a sensation. As our resident racer Ben Anderson discovered when he got behind the wheel of two special racing versions at Brands Hatch, the thrill of driving them hasn't diminished over time

GT
Jul 31, 2021
The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat Plus

The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat

It's a significant achievement to win one 24-hour race in a year, let alone two, and with different manufacturers, but that's exactly what ROWE Racing did in 2020 at the Nurburgring and Spa. This weekend's German classic offers the DTM newcomer a chance of another unique double to add to its growing collection of accolades

GT
Jun 3, 2021
The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story Plus

The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story

The manufacturers were unconvinced – and even hostile – when Stephane Ratel launched GT3 in 2006. Now, 15 years on from its debut, they’ve sold more than 2000 cars and counting, but its continued expansion puts the increasingly globalised category at risk of losing its roots

GT
May 25, 2021
The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT Plus

The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT

With the Silver pairings that dominated 2020 now banned, Mercedes pair Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie could be in the box seat after winning last year's Pro-Am crown. But a swarm of Lamborghinis, with the defending outright champion among them, will ensure they face tough opposition

GT
May 21, 2021
How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations Plus

How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations

Time in a thoroughbred racer leaves you searching for time in yourself, especially when the rewards for total commitment are so high, as our man discovered at Snetterton

GT
Apr 28, 2021
How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy Plus

How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy

Raffaele Marciello once appeared to be Ferrari’s next Italian F1 star, but is now under the pay of its German arch-rival in GTs – and he’s very happy with his life

GT
Apr 8, 2021
Why GTE's future is a conundrum with no easy answers Plus

Why GTE's future is a conundrum with no easy answers

The convergence between the World Endurance Championship and IMSA over LMDh regulations offers a bright future for sportscar racing, but the imminent demise of IMSA's GT Le Mans class creates wider issues to which no catch-all solution exists

GT
Feb 3, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Plus

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it

GT
Jan 23, 2021