Audi Invincible At Sebring

Sebring, Fla. – Audi returned to its winning ways at Sebring in the 60th anniversary edition of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with the powerful team capturing its 10th victory in the last 13 races. Road-racing stars Allan McNish, Dindo Capello and Tom Kristensen were the winning drivers, and they excelled once taking command. The trio drove the Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 diesel.

With their victory, the three drivers added to their victory tally at Sebring. McNish has now visited victory lane four times, Capello five times and Kristensen leads the way with a record six wins. In ALMS competition, their numbers are staggering: McNish has tallied 28 wins, Capello 36 and Kristensen 13.

A year ago, the winning trio finished fourth in an Audi R15 diesel.

“It may have looked like an easy win for us, but it was one of the most difficulty victories we’ve had due to the traffic, which was a big, big problem,” Capello said. “You had to be focused so not to make a mistake, and we finished the race with only a small scratch on the car.”

Added Kristensen, “Sebring is a very old track and the race is a fascinating event. The speed differences in the cars make for a big challenge. And to celebrate the 60th anniversary with a victory is very amazing.”

McNish drove the car across the finish line and described his feelings about the win and forthcoming retirement of the Audi R15. “We have been racing this car for a year, but it is our first time with it at Sebring. The car adapted well even though it was developed for LeMans. And now the R15 can be retired with a victory.”

Completing 325 laps around the 3.74-mile course, the winning car had a four-lap advantage on its nearest competitor.

A sister Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 diesel finished a strong second four laps behind the victors. The runner-up Audi was driven by Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Loic Duval. The trio dropped back toward the end after tangling with a slower car after darkness set in.

A third Audi ran well at the outset but encountered problems that derailed its strong run.

Third place overall and the P2 class winner was the Starworks Motorsports HPD-ARX 03b-Honda of Ryan Dalziel, Vicente Potolicchio and Stephane Sarrazin.

The top three finishers were competing under the aegis of the World Endurance Championship. The WEC shared the program with the American LeMans Series. Each organization recognized its winners and points were awarded for each series.

The ALMS P1 winner was the Dyson Racing Lola B12/60 Mazda team of Chris Dyson, Guy Smith and Steve Kane. Winning the race was a remarkable fete for the Dyson team as they only took delivery of the new car 12 days ago.

The Dyson entry finished eighth overall, completing 317 laps.

“I was delighted with our team’s performance, and this one takes the cake,” Dyson said. “Until the Muscle Milk car dropped out, we were looking for a moral victory and we were pushing out opponents.”

Added Smith, “The big thing with us is teamwork. Our guys haven’t had much sleep in the last few days. They dug deep for us. It was vital for us come out of here with good points.”

Irishman Kane thought it was special to win on St. Patrick’s day. “This was my first race at Sebring and my first stint was a learning curve for me. After 10 laps, I was ready to go.” Concerning the win on the Day of the Irish, he stated, “It is a great honor to win a race on St. Patrick’s Day.”

In the GT class, the BMW Team RLL of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Jonathan Summerton put their BMW E92 M3 in victory lane by besting the AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia team in the final minutes of the long race.

The Ferrari dropped to third at the end after being passed by one of the two factory Corvettes.

The Prototype Challenge victor was the Oreca FLM09 of Alex Popow, E. J. Viso and Burt Friselle. Popow and Viso were first-time ALMS victors and Friselle won for the second time.

The GTC winners were the Alex Job Racing Porsche GT3 Cup entry of Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell and Dion von Moltke.

For the ALMS competitors, Long Beach is the next race on the calendar on April 13 and 14. The WEC competes next at Spa-Francorchamps on May 5.

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