Trois-Rivieres: TK, Capello fight back

Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello started the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres with a significant handicap, starting just 20th on the grid, but the additional challenge didn't faze the pair as they stormed to their second victory of the American Le Mans Series season in the yellow-liveried No. 2 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R8.

Trois-Rivieres: TK, Capello fight back

Capello finished the three-hour timed race on the 1.51-mile Quebec street circuit 14.5 seconds in front of team-mates Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela, who started from the pole in the other works Audi.

Tight, narrow street circuit notwithstanding, Kristensen carved his way rapidly up through the pack, moving from 20th to fourth in a handful of laps. Still, his pace predictably got delayed the closer he got to the front and the passes became more difficult - particularly when he came up against a feisty Jan Magnussen in the Panoz. Indeed, Pirro had taken command of the race from the outset, and the No. 1 team seemed unlikely to relinquish the top spot until an ill-timed full-course yellow with just over an hour remaining.

The yellow - caused when a privateer Viper buried itself in a tyre wall - came right after Pirro had made his second planned pit stop to hand over to Biela for the final stint. This cost the pair dearly as Kristensen was able to pit under yellow for fuel, take on fresh tyres and hand over to Capello without losing the lead.

The number one Audi opted to skip a tyre change to save time, and with new rubber and a clear track, Capello ran away from Biela in the closing laps.

The final results masked an extremely strong run for the Champion Audi R8 driven by Johnny Herbert and Stefan Johansson, which emerged as an improbable contender for the win in the middle stages of the race. Improbable, because Herbert had dropped to the back of the field at the start of the race when he was tapped into a spin by a fast-starting Steve Knight in the MG Lola/AER 675.

The British driver fought his way back into second place behind Pirro by mid-race, and took the lead when Pirro made his final pit stop. However, confusion over when the pits were declared open during the subsequent caution resulted in the Champion Audi going past pit road twice, losing the opportunity to gain track position. So, Johansson (who had taken over from Herbert for the first time at the second stop) was back in third place behind Capello and Biela on the restart. To make matters worse, Johansson was called in for a stop-and-go penalty by IMSA officials for passing lapped traffic before the green flag. The team therefore settled for a distant third, two laps down to the winners.

GTS once again was a parade for the Corvette Racing team, although with a reverse of the usual order as Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins cruised home a couple of laps clear of the No. 3 Corvette driven by Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell.

The GT race turned out to be the closest of the day, even if it was another intra-team duel between the two Alex Job Porsche 911 GT3 RS of Sascha Maassen and Timo Bernhard, who were closing for Lucas Luhr and Jorg Bergmeister. The two ran nose to tail much of the day, the lead swapping back and forth between them, before Maassen capitalized when his young teammate went wide and into the gravel three laps from the end, enabling him to slip past for the win.

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