Close finish at Sebring

The tightest finish in Sebring history saw Factory BMW V12 LMR driver Tom Kristensen win the opening round of the American Le Mans Series yesterday

Close finish at Sebring

The BMW V12 LMR driver beat Butch Leizinger in the Dyson Riley & Scott car by just 9.202s. Leizinger shared the car with JJ Lehto and Jorg Muller. The close finish beat the previous Sebring record of 22.8s set by Mario Andretti and Steve McQueen in 1970.

The BMW diced neck-and-neck with the Dyson Riley & Scott driven by Leizinger for the final stages of the race. Not even the bold move to give R&S ace James Weaver the final stint was enough to halt BMW's charge.

'The pace car kept us on our toes - and the team thought it was best for me to drive the final stages of the race,' said Kristensen. 'It was difficult: I could see the Dyson car in my mirrors and it was pushing hard.'

But Weaver had problems of his own: 'It was like Piccadilly Circus when I left the pits for the final stint,' he said. 'Then it took me about four laps to make some elbow room and go faster. I couldn't catch the BMW.'

Third place overall went to the Audi R8 driven by Stefan Johansson and team-mates Michele Alboreto and Rinaldo Capello. They finished three laps down, such was the intensity of the battle at the head of the field.

The GTS victory went to the Porsche 911 raced by husband and wife team Martin and Melanie Snow and third driver Patrick Huisman. They came home ninth overall, 16 laps adrift of the leader.

The Porsche 911 RSR driven by Darryl Havens, Cort Wagner and Kelly Collins took top spot in the GT class, 21 laps behind.
































































1


Kristensen/Lehto/Muller


BMW V12 LMR


312 laps


2


Weaver/Leizinger/Forbes-Robinson


Riley & Scott MkIII


9.292


3


Alboreto/Capello/Johansson


Audi R8


+ 3 laps


4


Boutsen/Wollek/Muller


Porsche 911 GT1


+5 laps


5


Pirro/Biela/McCarthy


Audi R8


+9 laps


6


Taylor/Caffi/Fangio II


Ferrari 333SP


+19 laps


7


Bentley/Bingham/Duez


Riley & Scott MkIII


+21 laps


8


Spencer/Grupp/Smith


Kudzu Mazda


+23 laps


9


Snow/Mel Snow/Huisman


Porsche 911 (GTS)


+26 laps


10


Kaufmann/Ligonnet/Stewart


Porsche 911 (GTS)


+39 laps


11


Havens/Wagner/Collins


Porsche 911 RSR (GT)


+41 laps

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