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Audi Takes Its Turn At Sebring

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Tuesday, March 15 2011

Audi fired back at Peugeot during Tuesday's test session in Sebring. (Photos courtesy of the American Le Mans Series)

The long-running jousting match between Audi and Peugeot continues at Sebring.

A day after a French Peugeot claimed top lap during testing for this weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, German car-maker Audi took its turn to top the speed charts on Tuesday.

Audi Sport Team Joest’s R15 prototype driven by Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Mike Rockenfeller posted a 1:48.450 (122.822 mph) lap in the morning session, more than a second better than the closest challenge from Peugeot.

Monday’s lap at 1:49.615 (121.516 mph) by the Peugeot 908 of Franck Montagny, Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin stood as the best of the two-day test,  but the No. 1 Audi was fastest in both Tuesday session.

The Montagny/Lamy/Sarrazin Peugeot was second fastest Tuesday at 1:49.506 (121.637 mph) with the sister car of defending race-winners Anthony Davidson, Marc Gene and Alexander Wurz 0.063 seconds back in third.

Both the Peugeots set their quickest laps in the afternoon.

The GT category remained incredibly tight with the top seven cars separated by 0.418 seconds and the top nine within a single second. AF Corse’s Ferrari F430 GT of Gianmaria Bruni, Pierre Kaffer and Giancarlo Fisichella led the way with a lap of 2:01.873 (109.294 mph) in the afternoon, just 0.17 seconds clear of Corvette Racing’s Corvette C6.R of Oliver Gavin, Jan Magnussen and Richard Westbrook; their car set its fastest lap in the morning.

BMW Motorsport’s trio of Bill Auberlen, Augusto Farfus and Dirk Werner had the third fastest lap at 2:02.65 (109.122 mph) with their BMW M3 GT; its best time came in the morning as well.

The Signatech Nissan ORECA 03 of Franck Mailleux, Lucas Ordonez and Soheil Ayari led the way in

Peugeot slipped to second at Sebring on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of the American Le Mans Series)

LMP2 for the second straight day. The Nissan-powered prototype set a best lap of 1:55.627 (115.198 mph) in the morning session, and backed that up with a 1:57.207 (113.645 mph) in the afternoon. Level 5 Motorsports, last year’s Sebring winner in LMP Challenge, sat second in P2 with a lap of 1:58.043 (112.840 mph) for the open-top Lola-Honda of Scott Tucker and Luis Diaz.

Level 5’s second entry – a Honda-powered Lola coupe – was third quickest in class with a lap of 1:58.294 (112.601 mph) in the afternoon. Tucker, Christophe Bouchut and Joao Barbosa are sharing the ILMC entry.

CORE autosport held down the top spots in LMPC for the second straight day as the entry of Jon Bennett, Frankie Montecalvo and Ryan Dalziel turned a 1:55.852 (114.974 mph), followed closely by the sister ORECA FLM09 of Gunnar Jeannette, Ricardo Gonzalez and Rudy Junco with a 1:56.364 (114.468 mph). Not far behind was PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ entry of Ken Dobson, Ryan Lewis and Henri Richard, which turned in a 1:56.545 (114.291 mph).

All three of the class’ fastest times were in the morning session.

Patrick Bornhauser, Julien Canal and Michele Rugolo were the GTE-AM leaders with a 2:04.631 (106.875 mph) in the Larbre Competition Chevrolet Corvette C6.R followed by Pierre Ehert, Shaun Lynn and Roger Willis at a 2:07.561(104.421 mph) in the CRS Racing Ferrari F430.

Bill Sweedler, Leh Keen and Brian Wong were the early GTC leaders on Tuesday after turning a 2:06.645 (105.176 mph) in their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry. The time held up through the afternoon, which saw NGT Motorsport’s Porsche of Henrique Cisneros, Carlos Kauffmann and Sean Edwards set the day’s second-quickest time at 2:06.700 (105.130 mph). GMG Racing’s Porsche of Bret Curtis, Jan Seyffarth and James Sofronas was third quickest a 2:07.374 (104.574 mph).

The first official practice session for America’s greatest sports car race is set for 10:15 a.m. ET on Thursday. Live timing and scoring is available at americanlemans.com

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.

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Tuesday, March 15 2011
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