Audi in front as Sebring opens
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is starting 2007 the way the 2006 American Le Mans Series ended. Audi Sport North America posted the two fastest times Monday morning during the day’s first test session for Saturday’s season opener.
After winning in each of its eight times out in 2006 – including Sebring and Le Mans – the diesel-powered R10 TDI of defending race winners Rinaldo Capello, Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen was quickest at 1:45.308. The time is already a half second under the race qualifying record. The sister car of Emanuele Pirro, Marco Werner and Frank Biela was next at 1:46.082.
The five fastest LMP2 cars all were under the current class qualifying mark, led by the first of Dyson Racing’s Porsche RS Spyders of Butch Leitzinger, Andy Wallace and Andy Lally at 1:46.703. They were followed by Penske Racing’s Porsche of Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Helio Castroneves.
Porsche prototypes took the top three spots over their class rivals from Acura. The top Acura-powered team was the Andretti Green Racing entry of Bryan Herta, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan (1:47.671). They were less than 0.3 seconds of the Lowe’s Fernandez Racing car of Adrian Fernandez, Luis Diaz and David Martinez.
The GT1 battle between Corvette and Aston Martin appears as if it will as close this week as it was last season. Team Modena’s DBR9 was the quickest car in class at 1:59.110 with Corvette Racing’s two Corvette C6.Rs within 0.09 seconds.
Ferraris dominated GT2 as the Italian marque’s F430 GT held the top three positions. Risi Competizione’s Ferrari of Jamie Melo, Mika Salo and Johnny Mowlem were quickest at 2:02.159, nearly a half second under the track qualifying record. The Corsa Motorsports/White Lightning Racing entry of Rui Aguas and Maurizio Mediani were a half second back, just ahead of the Petersen/White Lightning Ferrari of Tomas Enge, Tim Bergmeister and Memo Gidley.
The best Porsche in the morning session was the Rahal Letterman Racing car of Ralf Kelleners and Tom Milner, nearly a second back of the Risi Ferrari.