Title beckons as McNish wins at Laguna Seca

Allan McNish furthered his lead at the top of the ALMS drivers standings after winning round 10 of the series at Laguna Seca with team mate Rinaldo Capello on Sunday night

Title beckons as McNish wins at Laguna Seca

The winning pair were closely followed home by the other Audi R8R driven by Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela just 0.352s behind. The victory gives Audi the manufacturer's title of the series with two rounds still to run and it marks the sixth consecutive win for the Ingolstadt marque and the seventh this year.

Capello dropped from pole position to third place at the start of the race after the Italian had difficulties shifting from second to third gear. Biela then became trapped behind the poleman in the second Audi and slotted into fifth spot.

Despite this early setback - and two other collisions and a spin into the wall for McNish on lap 45 - the Audis had fought their way back into the lead past the BMW pairing of Jorg Muller and JJ Lehto by the halfway stage.

"I was catching the leader quite quickly," said McNish, "but I came to lap Jean-Marc Gounon. We crashed, I hit the wall and after that the car was not as good as before. I dropped down to fourth, but came back to second. Prior to the last stop I was pushing very hard and was able to come out ahead of Pirro. After that it was relatively simple compared to the first two hours which were definitely not normal."

Muller and Lehto held on for third place and while the super-consistent duo finished only 11 seconds behind the second-placed Pirro/Biela car, they were never really a threat to the Audis after losing the lead.

The Oreca Viper of Olivier Beretta and Karl Wendlinger retook its place at the top of the GTS class after suffering at the hands of the Corvettes in recent races, while the PTG BMW M3 of Boris Said and Hans Stuck kept the Dick Barbour Racing Porsches at bay to take the GT class honours.

McNish is now firm leader of the championship and is a step nearer to taking the drivers' crown. Two rounds of the series remain - the penultimate takes place in two weeks' time in Las Vegas - but the season finale is to be held on New Year's Eve in Adelaiade. It is likely McNish will have to wait until ALMS goes down under before the Scot can make the title his own.


McNish/Capello Audi R8R 2h46m9.892s
Pirro/Biela Audi R8R 2h46m10.244s
Lehto/Muller BMW V12 LMR 2h46m21.223s
Gounon/Auberlen BMW V12 LMR +3laps
Smith/Johansson Reynard 2KQ/Judd +3laps
Field/Sutherland Lola B2K/10/Judd +7laps

Beretta/Wendlinger Dodge Viper V10 +10laps

Said/Stuck Porsche 911 GT3-R +14 laps

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