Peugeot Looking Racy at Sebring
Peugeot eased out to a quick start at Sebring on Monday, but was closely followed by its long-time foil Audi.
A new factory Peugeot 908 – driven by Franck Montagny, Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy – turned a best lap of 1:47.678 (123.702 mph) during the first of two four-hour sessions in the lead-up to the opening round of the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.
The 2011-spec 908s are making their racing debut this week, and Peugeot enters as the defending Sebring race-winner.
Times were close though with the top six cars within 1.158 seconds across the two sessions.
The fastest of Audi Sport Team Joest’s Audi R15 prototypes sat second at 1:47.919 (123.426 mph), the best time of the afternoon session; that was the car of 2009 Sebring winners Tom Kristensen, Dindo Capello and Allan McNish. The sister Audi of reigning Le Mans champions Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Mike Rockenfeller sat third, just 0.106 seconds back.
Next up was defending ALMS prototype champion Highcroft Racing and its new HPD ARX-01e of David Brabham, Simon Pagenaud and Marino Franchitti. It was the only non-diesel among the top four cars at 1:48.342 (122.486 mph) in the morning.
The GT battle was just as close with the first three cars within 0.267 seconds. The first BMW Motorsport BMW M3 GT of Bill Auberlen, Augusto Farfus and Dirk Werner, set a lap of 2:01.562 (109.574 mph) in the morning for a 0.152-second gap over the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR driven by Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Long and Marc Lieb, which set its fast lap of 2:01.714 (109.437 mph) in the morning session. Coincidentally it was the exact same as the BMW’s quickest in the afternoon.
Next up was AF Corse’s Ferrari F430 GT of Gianmaria Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer at 2:01.829 (109.334 mph) in the morning session.
In LMP2, Signatech Nissan’s ORECA-Nissan of Franck Mailleux, Soheil Ayari and Lucas Ordonez was quickest in class at 1:55.626 (115.199 mph) during the afternoon running. The car, making its first start, led over Level 5 Motorsports’ new Lola-Honda coupe. Scott Tucker, Christophe Bouchut and Joao Barbosa are splitting duties in the car that set a best lap of 1:58.970 (111.961 mph). Oak Racing’s Judd-powered Pescarolo sat third at 2:01.306 (109.805 mph). Each of the class’ best times were in the afternoon session.
Krohn Racing’s Ferrari F430 GT was the quickest of the GTE Am entries. Nic Jonsson, driving with Tracy Krohn and Michele Rugolo, set a lap of 2:03.217 (108.102 mph) in the first session. The Krohn entry was 0.736 seconds clear of Larbre Competition’s Corvette C6.R of Julien Canal, Gabrielle Gardel and Patrick Bornhauser. CRS Racing’s Ferrari of Pierre Ehret, Shaun Lynn and Roger Willis was third at 2:04.852 (106.686 mph).
CORE autosport’s two ORECA FLM09s were quickest in LMP Challenge in the team’s first weekend of ALMS competition. The first car of Ryan Dalziel, Jon Bennett and Frankie Montecalvo set the fastest time at 1:55.060 (115.766 mph), good enough for a 0.323-second cushion over the sister car of Gunnar Jeannette, Ricardo Gonzalez and Rudy Junco.
Genoa Racing’s first entry of Jens Petersen, Dane Cameron and Michael Guasch was third in class and quickest in the afternoon at 1:55.904 (114.923 mph).
TRG held the top two spots in GT Challenge, led by the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry of Duncan Ende, Spencer Pumpelly and Alain Li at 2:05.872 (105.822 mph). The second entry of Dion von Moltke was second, just 0.479 seconds back. Magus Racing’s Porsche of Matthew Marsh, John Potter and Craig Stanton was third at 2:06.366 (105.408 mph).
There are two one-hour test sessions Tuesday – 11:35 a.m. and 3:50 p.m. ET.
The 59th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida is set for 10:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 19. The race will be shown live and in its entirety on ESPN3.com and americanlemans.com starting at 10:15 a.m. ET. ABC will provide coverage from 12:30 to 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 20. Visit the American Le Mans Series’ schedule page for information on tickets and area accommodations.One Comment