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 Rain dictates provisional grid for 12 Hours of Sebring

March 17, 2005

ADT Champion Audi R8

Due to inclement weather Thursday, a provisional grid has been set for the 53rd running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the first American Le Mans Series event of 2005.

The grid was set by combining the best practice times from Wednesday's two practice sessions and Thursday morning's session. The Thursday afternoon qualifying period was changed to an open practice, but no teams took part. A combined practice session is scheduled for 10:25 to 11:25 a.m. Friday for all classes.

The grid was set by combining the best practice times from the two practice sessions Wednesday (Practice Session #1 and Practice Session #2) and Thursday morning’s session (Practice #3). The Thursday afternoon time period allotted for qualifying will be used as an open practice session. This evening’s practice is still scheduled, weather permitting.

The starting grid does not become official until one hour after Saturday morning’s warm-up session scheduled to end at 8:40 pm. 

Based on the combined practice times, the overall pole was awarded to the No. 1 ADT Champion Audi R8, with JJ Lehto, Marco Werner and Tom Kristensen behind the wheel, trying for its first Sebring victory. Lehto and Werner placed second in 2004, teaming with Emanuele Pirro.

Last year, Lehto posted the fastest qualifying time and quickest race lap but still finished five laps behind the winning No. 28 Canon/Infiniti Audi R8.

"The Audi R8 could have been a bit faster," Lehto said. "We weren't really pushing. We were expecting to have qualifying (Thursday). The track was very bad. It was very dirty and sandy."

In LMP2, the No. 37 Telesis Intersport Racing Lola B05/40 AER will start on the class pole and fifth overall. The privateer team of Jon Field, Duncan Dayton and Gregor Fisken was almost a full three seconds faster than the second-quickest car in class.

"The new Lola seems to be a good car so far," Field said. "We've just scratched the surface, and Sebring is a rough track to see what it can do. This car is built more like a prototype should be. It's real rugged and not as flimsy. We ordered the car late, but Lola did a great job putting it together so precisely."

As expected, Corvette Racing's two new C6-Rs set the pace in GT1. The No. 4 entry of Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen barely edged its sister car, the No. 3 with Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Max Papis by about 0.30 seconds.

Corvette C6R

The No. 4 trio will start eighth on the grid overall.

"This is an important year for the C6," Gavin said. "There is going to be a lot of competition, not only here at Sebring, but all season. The Saleen should do well here, the Aston-Martins are quick, and the Maserati is a bit of an unknown. The competition from our sister car is going to be very tough."

Another privateer entry, the No. 31 Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, was fastest among GT2 cars. Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long and Lucas Luhr will start 20th overall.

Thursday's poor weather wasn't anything new to Luhr.

"We were prepared to qualify in the wet," he said. "Jorg and myself are Germans, so we are used to the rain. Some of the American drivers do not like it so much. It is a 12-hour race, so you won't win the race in qualifying on the pole or even the first corner. But it's always nice to start in the front of the class."

The starting grid does not become official until one hour after Saturday morning's warm-up session, scheduled to end at 8:40 a.m.

Starting agate

  Car     Best    
Pos No. Class Drivers Time Speed Car Make
1 1 P1 J.Lehto*/M.Werner/T.Kristensen 1:49.723 121.397 Audi R8/Audi
2 2 P1 E.Pirro/F.Biela/A.McNish 1:50.055 121.030 Audi R8/Audi
3 20 P1 C.Dyson/G.Smith* 1:50.249 120.817 Lola EX257/AER
4 16 P1 J.Weaver*/A.Wallace/B.Leitzinger 1:51.351 119.622 Lola EX257/AER
5 37 P2 J.Field*/D.Dayton/G.Fisken 1:51.752 119.192 Lola B05/40/AER
6 10 P2 J.Bucknum*/C.McMurry/I.James 1:54.669 116.160 Courage C-65/AER
7 27 P2 I.Mitchell/P.Bennett/H.Primat* 1:55.986 114.841 Courage C-65/Judd
8 4 GT1 O.Gavin*/O.Beretta/J.Magnussen 1:57.347 113.510 Chevrolet Corvette C6-R
9 3 GT1 R.Fellows/J.O'Connell*/M.Papis 1:57.686 113.183 Chevrolet Corvette C6-R
10 12 P1 M.Lewis*/T.Drissi/B.Willman 1:57.841 113.034 Riley & Scott Mk III C
11 63 GT1 R.Kelleners/T.Borcheller/J.Mowlem* 1:57.881 112.995 Saleen S7R
12 88 P1 D.Theys/M.Krumm*/J.Barbosa 1:58.001 112.880 Dallara/Nissan
13 58 GT1 P.Kox/P.Lamy*/S.Sarrazin 1:58.370 112.529 Aston Martin DBR9
14 57 GT1 D.Brabham/D.Turner/S.Ortelli* 1:58.519 112.387 Aston Martin DBR9
15 5 GT1 A.Figge*/R.Dalziel/D.Empringham 1:59.409 111.549 Chevrolet Corvette C5-R
16 71 GT1 T.Weickardt/M.Rugolo/J.Belloc* 2:00.079 110.927 Dodge Viper
17 86 GT1 C.Bouchut*/S.Bourdais/F.Gollin 2:00.099 110.909 Ferrari 550 Maranello
18 15 P2 W.Binnie/R.Julien*/A.Sharpe 2:00.219 110.798 Lola B05/42/Nicholson/McLaren
19 35 GT1 A.Bertolini/F.De Simone/F.Babini* 2:00.381 110.649 Maserati MC12
20 31 GT2 P.Long/J.Bergmeister*/L.Luhr 2:04.960 106.594 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
21 50 GT2 B.Auberlen*/R.Liddell/E.Naspetti 2:05.047 106.520 Panoz GTLM
22 23 GT2 T.Bernhard*/R.Dumas/S.Maassen 2:05.078 106.494 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
23 45 GT2 J.van Overbeek*/J.Fogarty/D.Law 2:06.140 105.597 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
24 51 GT2 S.Maxwell/B.Sellers/G.Jeannette* 2:06.479 105.314 Panoz GTLM
25 24 GT2 R.Pobst/I.Baas*/B.Cunningham 2:06.687 105.141 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
26 44 GT2 L.Pechnik*/S.Neiman/D.Murry 2:07.304 104.631 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
27 67 GT2 P.Ehret*/K.Buckler/A.Davis 2:07.625 104.368 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
28 43 GT2 T.Burgess/M.Rockenfeller/M.Jensen* 2:07.916 104.131 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
29 79 GT2 J.Jackson/T.Sugden/N.Jonsson* 2:08.291 103.826 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
30 83 GT1 R.Sutherland/N.Smith*/R.Cole 2:08.346 103.782 Saleen S7R
31 41 GT2 M.Hynes/P.Pearce/R.Dean* 2:08.347 103.781 TVR 400R
32 40 GT2 L.Tomilson/W.Hughes*/J.Kane 2:08.729 103.473 TVR 400R
33 96 GT2 J.Barazi/M.Vergers/A.Thompson* 2:09.022 103.238 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
34 66 GT2 T.Krohn/M.Sluszny/M.Cawley* 2:09.110 103.168 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
35 30 P2 C.Field/G.Ridpath/L.Halliday* 2:10.031 102.437 Lola B2K/40/Judd
36 48 GT2 T.Coronel*/M.Goossens/D.Crevels 2:11.840 101.032 Spyker C-8 Spyker GT2 R
37 34 GT2 S.Ivankovich*/S.Pumpelly/A.Lally 2:13.176 100.018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
38 47 GT2 P.van Merkensteyn/F.Munsterhuis/M.Franchitti* 2:16.733 97.416 Spyker C-8 Spyker GT2 R
39 78 GT2   -.---   Porsche 911 GT3 RSR


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