Aston leads first day of Sebring test

Aston Martin Racing marked its return to the American Le Mans Series by claiming the fastest time in yesterday's Sebring test

Aston leads first day of Sebring test

New driver Adrian Fernandez set a 1m47.826s as he acclimatised to Aston's LMP1 coupe, putting him 0.2 seconds ahead of Intersport's Lola.

"It's very different," said Fernandez, who won last year's LMP2 title with his Acura. "Everything looks different inside. You get use to it. But it's definitely different, and this is my first time in the car and the car is a lot heavier than the P2 car I drove last year. But it's a lot faster. It sounds beautiful and looks sharp.

"I'm enjoying every second of it. I'm very happy. It's a great team, great drivers, and I'm very happy to work with them. It's my very first time in the car, I'm not really going the proper speed yet. But I'm working step-by-step, so I'm looking forward to the three-year relationship."

The top two cars both set their best times in the morning session, with Intersport crashing in the afternoon and causing a stoppage.

Last year's LMP1 champion squad Highcroft was third in the LMP2-spec Acura - now entered under HPD branding - it will use in 2010. Although the season-opening Sebring 12 Hours runs to full Le Mans rules, the performance of LMP1 and LMP2 cars will be balanced for most of the ALMS season to allow them to fight for overall victories in a unified prototype class.

The Cytosport Porsche and Dyson Lola-Mazda completed the top five, with Andy Meyrick making his first official appearance for the latter squad alongside Chris Dyson and Guy Smith.

Green Earth Team Gunnar was quickest in the new LMP Challenge class, ahead of Genoa Racing, which recruited Andy Wallace to assist with the initial test of its car.

Risi Ferrari topped GT2, followed by the best of the Rahal Letterman BMWs and the lead Flying Lizard Porsche, with LMP1 co-champion driver Scott Sharp's new Extreme Speed Ferrari GT2 squad fourth.

Darrell Carlisle led the all-Porsche GT3 GT Challenge division for Kelly Moss Racing.

Pre-race favourite Peugeot has chosen not to bring its LMP1 diesels to this test, with GT2 frontrunner Corvette also skipping this week's group session.

Pos Cl Drivers Car Time 1. P1 Primat/Fernandez/Mucke/Buncombe Lola-Aston Martin 1m47.826s 2. P1 Field/Field Lola-AER 1m48.066s 3. P2 Brabham/Pagenaud/Franchitti HPD 1m48.263s 4. P2 Pickett/Graf Porsche 1m49.187s 5. P2 Dyson/Smith/Meyrick Lola-Mazda 1m50.261s 6. PC Zugel/Jeannette/Julian Oreca 1m57.131s 7. PC Connor/Wallace Oreca 1m57.580s 8. PC Feinberg/Marcelli Oreca 1m58.265s 9. PC Tucker/Bouchut Oreca 1m58.552s 10. PC Pagerey/Wong Oreca 2m01.976s 11. GT2 Melo/Bruni Ferrari 2m02.286s 12. GT2 Auberlen/Milner BMW 2m02.584s 13. GT2 Bergmeister/Long Porsche 2m03.125s 14. GT2 Sharp/van Overbeek Ferrari 2m03.169s 15. GT2 Mueller/Hand/Werner BMW 2m03.211s 16. GT2 Law/Neiman Porsche 2m03.651s 17. GT2 Brown/Cosmo Ferrari 2m03.862s 18. GT2 Sellers/Henzler Porsche 2m03.971s 19. GT2 Pappas/Bleekemolen Porsche 2m05.948s 20. GT2 Robertson/Robertson/Murry Doran Ford 2m06.136s 21. GTC Carlisle Porsche 2m07.902s 22. GTC Walton Porsche 2m08.217s 23. GT2 Gentilozzi/Goossens/Drissi/Pruett Jaguar 2m08.324s 24. GTC LeSaffre Porsche 2m08.581s 25. GTC Holden Porsche 2m09.499s 26. GTC Curtis/Sofronas Porsche 2m10.211s 27. GTC Lewis/Vento Porsche 2m10.714s 28. GTC Rodriguez/Bieker/Friedman Porsche 2m11.085s 
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