SO CLOSE TO A PODIUM FINISH
Once again, the 12 Hours of Sebring did justice to its reputation as one of the world’s toughest endurance races. The legendary Floridian circuit takes its toll of the drivers and cars like no other venue and has a habit of stopping even the best-prepared and most competitive teams in their tracks, even when a podium finish seems to be within reach. After posting the fourth fastest time in qualifying behind the three factory Audis, the privately-run Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03a succeeded in maintaining pressure on the German machines. However, just when it looked as though the car of Pagenaud/Graf/Luhr was heading for a class win and, perhaps, second place overall, Simon Pagenaud suffered a technical problem during his last refuelling stop of the race, just 43 minutes from the chequered flag. The time taken by the team to cure the problem and get fuel into the car’s tank ruined the Frenchman’s chances of finishing on the podium and of scoring a top result in his class. Despite this cruel disappointment, the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing car emerged as the most competitive prototype behind the three works Audis. That in itself was a huge reward for the team which only took delivery of its car two months before the 2012 12 Hours of Sebring. Simon Pagenaud will stay in Florida for next weekend’s IndyCar race through the streets of St Petersburg (Florida) which is hosting the first round of the series.
SIMON SAYS... “We came so close to finishing on the podium. There were three Audis at Sebring and they are never easy cars to beat. I spoke to some of the Audi Sport drivers after the race and they told me that we gave them a good run for their money. That’s something Klaus, Lucas, myself and everyone in the team can be proud of. Although we were prevented from finishing the race because of a fuel issue, we were competitive out of the box. Sebring is a track which seriously hammers the cars and drivers, possibly more so even than Le Mans. It’s a race I’ve done since 2009, but I’ve only reached the finish twice, and only once without a problem. It’s such a tough race that I can’t think of much that would be more satisfying than to win the 12 Hours of Sebring.”