Sebring 12 Hours: #1 crew wins thrilling all-Audi victory battle
|By Gary Watkins
||Sunday, March 17th 2013, 05:08 GMT
Audi claimed its 11th victory in the Sebring 12 Hours at the end of a thrilling race between its R18 e-tron quattros.
Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler and Oliver Jarvis claimed victory in the opening round of the American Le Mans Series by just under eight seconds over the sister car shared by Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Lucas di Grassi.
The two Audi LMP1 turbodiesels swapped positions throughout the 12 Hours before the winning car moved to the front in the penultimate hour and Treluyer was able to hold off a challenge from Kristensen.
Jarvis, who was racing at Sebring for the first time, said: "I felt privileged to be asked to drive here and even more privileged to win.
"For much of the race the two cars were never separated by much more than 10 seconds. I can promise you that we fought hard and there were no team orders."
The Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota B12/60 shared by Neel Jani, Nick Heidfeld and Nicolas Prost finished third as the best of the P1 privateers.
The Anglo-Swiss team's lead car did not have the pace of the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03c, but two dubious 60s stop-go penalties and a lost wheel meant that Klaus Graf, Lucas Luhr and Romain Dumas could only finish fourth.
The Level 5 Motorsports squad finished one-two in the LMP2 class with its pair of HPD ARX-03b, team boss Scott Tucker, Ryan Briscoe and Marino Franchitti heading the sister car driven by Tucker, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Simon Pagenaud.
The GT class provided the best action of the 61st running of the Sebring 12 Hours, the lead Chevrolet Corvette C6.R of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner Jr and Richard Westbrook snatching the victory from the Risi Competizione Ferrari 458 Italia with just 14 minutes to go.
The Chevrolet was the fastest car in class, but it twice had to fight back from a lap down to secure the victory.
A dashboard short circuit that knocked out the dashboard and the rear lights cost the car nearly two laps in the middle of the race. The crew returned to the front only for Westbrook to receive another dubious penalty after contact with a slower car.
Milner took over the car for the run to the flag with what appeared to be an irretrievable deficit to the Ferrari shared by Oliver Beretta, Matteo Malucelli and Gianmaria Bruni.
Bruni looked as though he would be able to maintain a gap to the Chevrolet, but a back problem meant Risi was force to replace him with Sebring debutant Malucelli for the final stint.
The Italian lost time in traffic early on and finally relinquished the lead when he went off in the closing stages.
Results - 364 laps:
Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap
1. P1 Fassler/Treluyer/Jarvis Joest Audi 12h00m11.638s
2. P1 di Grassi/Kristensen/McNish Joest Audi + 7.679s
3. P1 Prost/Heidfeld/Jani Rebellion Lola-Toyota + 5 laps
4. P1 Graf/Luhr/Dumas Pickett HPD + 6 laps
5. P1 Beche/Cheng/Belicchi Rebellion Lola-Toyota + 10 laps
6. P2 Tucker/Franchitti/Briscoe Level 5 HPD + 18 laps
7. P2 Tucker/Hunter-Reay/Pagena Level 5 HPD + 19 laps
8. P2 Kimber-Smith/Zugel/Lux Greaves Zytek-Nissan + 22 laps
9. PC Cheng/Guasch/Ostella PR1 Mathiasen FLM + 28 laps
10. PC Marcelli/Cumming/Johansso BAR1 FLM + 28 laps
11. PC Nunez/Shears/Heinemeier Hansson Performance Tech FLM + 29 laps
12. PC Junqueira/Popow/Ende RSR FLM + 29 laps
13. P2 Brown/van Overbeek/Lazzaro Extreme Speed HPD + 29 laps
14. PC Bennett/Braun/Wilkins CORE FLM + 30 laps
15. GT Gavin/Milner/Westbrook Corvette + 31 laps
16. GT Bruni/Beretta/Malucelli Risi Ferrari + 31 laps
17. GT Henzler/Sellers/Tandy Falken Porsche + 32 laps
18. GT Auberlen/Martin/Muller RLL BMW + 34 laps
19. GT Dalziel/Farnbacher/Goossens SRT Viper + 35 laps
20. GT Miller/Holzer/Lietz Miller Porsche + 35 laps
21. PC Drissi/Mitchell/Ducote BAR1 FLM + 38 laps
22. GT Muller/Hand/Edwards RLL BMW + 43 laps
23. GT Turner/Mucke/Senna Aston Martin + 46 laps
24. GTC MacNeil/Bleekemolen/von Moltke Alex Job Porsche + 49 laps
25. GTC Canache/Pumpelly/Wong Flying Lizard Porsche + 49 laps
26. GTC Cisneros/Seefried/Edwards NGT Porsche + 50 laps
27. GTC Hedlund/Heylen/Fogarty JDX Porsche + 50 laps
28. GTC Keating/Faulkner/Stanton TRG Porsche + 51 laps*
29. GTC Dempsey/Lally/Foster Dempsey Porsche + 53 laps
30. GTC Avenatti/Davis/Faieta Dempsey Porsche + 53 laps
31. GTC Calvert-Jones/Curran/Aschenbach Competition Porsche + 55 laps
32. GTC Ehret/Imperatori/Sandberg Flying Lizard Porsche + 55 laps
33. GT Dalla Lana/Johnson/Lamy Aston Martin + 57 laps
34. GT Bomarito/Kendall/Wittmer SRT Viper + 61 laps
35. GTC Gomez/Farnbacher/Giermaziak NGT Porsche + 63 laps
36. PC Schultis/Simon/Kaffer DragonSpeed FLM + 78 laps
37. P2 Sharp/Cosmo/Brabham Extreme Speed HPD + 83 laps
38. GTC Carter/Estre/de Quesada TRG Porsche + 95 laps
* Not running at finish
GT Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor Corvette 213 laps
GT Sweedler/Bell/Keen AJR/West Ferrari 209 laps
P1 Dyson/Smith/Leitzinger Dyson Lola-Mazda 81 laps
P1 Meyrick/Pla DeltaWing 10 laps