Sebring Day 4: Audi stays quickest

Rinaldo Capello became the latest driver from Audi Sport North America to top the timing charts at Sebring International Raceway. The Italian, a three-time winner of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, posted a lap of 1:45.026 in Thursday morning’s practice session. Capello set his time late in the session in the Audi R10 TDI he is sharing with Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen.

The trio won last year’s race by four laps in the maiden race for the diesel-powered prototype. Audi has been on top in each session so far this week and is showing no signs of letting up. Teammate Marco Werner, in the second R10 TDI, was second quickest at 1:45.038 as Audi remained the only cars this week to break the 1:46 barrier. Both cars were comfortably under McNish’s qualifying record of 1:45.828 set last year.

“We were fast because we wanted to push the car so we could find the limit," Capello said. “The car is running well, so that's why we're so fast."

Third overall and fastest in LMP2 was Timo Bernhard in the first of Penske Racing’s Porsche RS Spyders at 1:46.630, more than a second under the class qualifying record. The German was 0.035 seconds ahead of fellow Porsche factory driver and Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe. The top six cars in the class were under the qualifying mark. Dyson Racing’s Porsche was third, followed by the first of the Acura-powered entries, Andretti Green Racing’s prototype.

Jan Magnussen put Corvette Racing’s No. 3 Corvette C6.R at the top of the class with a 1:57.516. That put him 0.115 seconds ahead of the sister car shared by Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Max Papis. Team Modena’s Aston Martin DBR9 was next at 1:59.048.

In GT2, Risi Competizione’s Jaime Melo turned the fastest lap on his last pass around the 3.7-mile, 17-turn circuit in a Ferrari F430 GT. His 2:02.017 was nearly 1.5 seconds under David Brabham’s class record from last year. Next was Tomas Enge in Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing’s Ferrari at a 2:02.182. Jörg Bergmeister was the best of the Porsche pilots with a 2:02.882 for Flying Lizard Motorsports. The five fastest cars were better than last year’s qualifying record.

Qualifying is set for 3:20 p.m. ET this afternoon.

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