56th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours Of Sebring

The Super Bowl of the American LeMans Series (ALMS) was Saturday and most of the talk in the paddock was the build up of the impending all-diesel battle of the Audi and Peugeot teams. The rematch from LeMans was finally here and it was the Peugeot team who was fast in testing and fast in every practice that looked like the one who was going to set the pace. Sebring is a track perfectly suited for the heavier LMP1 cars of the like of Audi and Peugeot. But, reliability as always is the deciding factor at Sebring, as it was for Peugeot and surprisingly, also for Audi.

In a race that saw 27 lead changes, it was surprising to see Audi with mechanical problems because it seems they never have problems. However the number 2 Audi had a blown turbo and the number 1 Audi had brake problems. It was hydraulic problems that spelled doom for the Peugeot team. Thus, that left the door open for the Penske Porsche Spyder number 7 car of Romain Dumas, Timo Bernard and Emmanuel Collard who took advantage of the Audi problems and ran a great race to win the 56th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida.. The overall win for Porsche was its first since 1988 and Roger Penske?s first win in 40 years of going there. It was a great weekend for Roger as he also got inducted in the Sebring Hall of Fame the day before. It was the first time that the LMP2 cars beat the LMP1 in overall finish at the historic Sebring Raceway. “The key today is that we ran without a problem – gearbox, engine and race strategy,” Collard said. “That’s why we won this race.” With Porsche?s win, Audi’s streak of consecutive overall wins at Sebring ended at eight. However, they extended its Series record of consecutive class wins to 23.

The powerful Corvette team finished one-two in GT1 with drivers, Johnny O?Connell who teamed with Jan Magnussen and Ron Fellows. Johnny became the winningest driver in Sebring history with seven class victory breaking a tie with the legendary Phil Hill. The Corvette team beat the privateer Aston-Martin team to take the class win in the diminutive GT1 class. We had some unfinished business,” the Canadian Fellows said. “We had a really strong car at Road Atlanta and had some bad luck with Jan. We had a great race at Le Mans. All three of us feel that this is a great way to start. Le Mans is the next big prize we’re going to shoot for. This is a great confidence builder for all of us and we definitely want another Le Mans.” Here are how the numbers stack up for the Corvette drivers. He won overall in 1994 and posted class victories in 1993, 1995 and 2002-2004. It gave Fellows four Sebring wins – he teamed with O’Connell for three straight from 2002-04. This was Magnussen’s second win in four years.

In GT2, the team having a great day was the Flying Lizard team who finished 1-2 in class with Jorg Bergmeister, Wolf Henzler and Marc Lieb at the controls. They took advantage of Jamie Melo?s major blunder on the restart, as he tried to pass several cars on the inside going into turn 7 and ran into Dirk Werner and took out the first and second place leaders in GT2 at the time. The ?Lizard?s team Porsche 911 GT3 RSR had a two-lap margin of victory over the sister car of Darren Law, Seth Neiman and Alex Davison.

The talk of the weekend was Marco Andretti?s run in the Andretti-Green Acura in P2 class. This was Andretti?s first run in a prototype at Sebring. Andretti had the fastest trap speeds heading into turn one in practice and really had everybody stand up and take notice. ?It was awesome getting off to the start we did this morning. We showed the pace and I was having fun. But, then the overheating problems started to develop and set us back. It?s unfortunate that the problems we had ultimately took us out because the XM Acura team showed some serious promise. I had fun racing with those guys, but I wish it had ended differently.? Persistent overheating problems ended the day for Andretti along with co-drivers, Bryan Herta and Christian Fittipaldi in the 10th hour of the 12 hour race.

Also, Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz had finished second overall and in class but failed a post-race stall test in technical inspections. Their Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Acura ARX-01b was excluded as a result.

The next race for the American Le Mans Series is the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg. The green flag is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 5 from the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. The race will be broadcast on ABC from 1:30-3:30 p.m. ET on April 5. Radio coverage will be available on XM Satellite Radio and on, which also will feature IMSA’s Live Timing & Scoring.

It is good to see that Audi AG confirmed Friday that it will enter two cars for a full-season run in the 2008 ALMS season. Audi Sport North America will field two factory R10 TDI diesel-powered prototypes as they try for their third straight LMP1 championship. The two Audi R10 TDI cars are entered in the American Le Mans Series by Team Audi Sport North America again in the 2008 season. Champion Racing members form the team’s core. German duo Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner contest the full championship. Frank Biela (Germany) and Emanuele Pirro (Italy) share the second Audi R10 TDI from the St Petersburg race onwards. Audi has competed in the American Le Mans Series since 2000, winning the LM P1 class championship eight times in succession with 61 overall race victories.

56th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
presented by Fresh from Florida
Sebring International Raceway, Sebring, Fla.
Saturday’s results

1. (4) Timo Bernhard, Germany; Romain Dumas, France; Emmanuel Collard, France; Porsche RS Spyder (1, P2), 351.
2. (7) Butch Leitzinger, State College, PA; Marino Franchitti, Scotland; Andy Lally, New York, NY; Porsche RS Spyder (3, P2), 351.
3. (1) Rinaldo Capello, Italy; Tom Kristensen, Denmark; Allan McNish, Scotland; Audi AG R10/TDI (1, P1), 351.
4. (10) Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, NY; Guy Smith, England; Porsche RS Spyder (4, P2), 350.
5. (11) David Brabham, Australia; Scott Sharp, Jupiter, FL; Stefan Johansson, Sweden; Acura ARX-01B (5, P2), 349.
6. (3) Marco Werner, Germany; Lucas Luhr, Germany; Mike Rockenfeller, Germany; Audi AG R10/TDI (2, P1), 333.
7. (12) Jan Lammers, The Netherlands; Fredy Lienhard Sr., Switzerland; Didier Theys, Belgium; Porsche RS Spyder (6, P2), 333.
8. (16) Jan Magnussen, Denmark; Ron Fellows, Canada; Johnny O’Connell, Flowery Branch, GA; Corvette C6.R (1, GT1), 328.
9. (9) Jon Field, Dublin, OH; Clint Field, Dublin, OH; Richard Berry, Evergreen, CO; Lola B06/10 AER (3, P1), 327.
10. (17) Oliver Gavin, England; Max Papis, Italy; Olivier Beretta, Monaco; Corvette C6.R (2, GT1), 320.
11. (2) Nicola Minassian, England; Stephane Sarrazin, France; Pedro Lamy, Lisbon Portugal; Peugeot 908 (4, P1), 318.
12. (21) Wolf Henzler, Germany; Marc Lieb, Germany; J

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