Peugeot Edges Audi In Monday Testing At Sebring

Peugeot picked up where it left off at the American Le Mans Series Winter Test by turning in the fastest time in Monday’s first test session for the 56th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. Stephane Sarrazin’s unofficial time of 1:43.302 was the quickest in the two sessions at the 3.7-mile, 17-turn circuit.

Sarrazin’s time was 1.672 seconds better than Marco Werner’s qualifying record from 2007 in Audi’s R10 TDI. Coincidentally, Werner was second quickest Monday at 1:43.784 that turned out to be Audi’s best time on the day. Allan McNish had posted the fastest lap of the morning session at 1:44.093.

Sarrazin led all entries at the January Winter Test with a 1:42.801.

Audi has won Sebring’s 12-hour classic every year since 2000 including the last two seasons with its diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI. The task grew tougher in February when Peugeot announced its entry into the race with its factory 908, the car that finished second to Audi at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2007.

The top three LMP2 entries were within 0.828 seconds of each other with the No. 7 Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder on top at 1:45.147, set by Timo Bernhard in the morning session. The defending class Series co-champion with Romain Dumas was just ahead of last year’s P2 race winner Andretti Green Racing (1:45.866 in the morning session) and Dyson Racing’s No. 16 Porsche RS Spyder (1:45.975 in the afternoon).

Corvette Racing sat 1-2 in GT1 with Oliver Gavin pacing the works squad with a 1:56.501 in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R during the morning session. His time was 0.978 seconds better than the sister car of Jan Magnussen, Johnny O’Connell and Ron Fellows, a time set in the second period.

All six Corvette drivers boast at least one Sebring victory with O’Connell leading the way with six. That puts him in a tie for most in race history with Phil Hill. O’Connell also can set a record for most consecutive starts with his 18th this weekend.

Bell Motorsports’ Aston Martin DBR9 was third in class with Terry Borcheller turning in a time of 1:59.882 in the morning. This will be the first race for the Aston Martin in the hands of the Bell operation, which has a long history of chasing the Corvettes in a Saleen S7R.

The top three in GT2 on Monday looked very much like the final championship standings from 2007. Risi Competizione’s Jaime Melo in the No. 62 Ferrari F430 GT was quickest at 2:01.423 that was more than a second better than last year’s qualifying record. The Risi squad won its second straight class championship in 2007 and won last year’s Sebring race by just 0.202 seconds.

The team it beat was second fastest in class Monday. The No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche of J

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