Sebring: Doran-Lista race report

Doran-Lista Team Has Far Too Short a Day at Sebring Saturday SEBRING, Fla., March 16 - The Doran-Lista Racing team's day ended far too early Saturday at Sebring International Raceway, as a freak brake failure caused the Oreca Dallara Judd ...

Doran-Lista Team Has Far Too Short a Day at Sebring Saturday

SEBRING, Fla., March 16 - The Doran-Lista Racing team's day ended far too early Saturday at Sebring International Raceway, as a freak brake failure caused the Oreca Dallara Judd #27 to crash into a tire barrier less than an hour after the start of the 50th annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring.

Luckily Didier Theys of Scottsdale, Ariz. was not injured in the violent crash, but the car suffered extensive damage and was done for the day at 11:13 a.m., bringing out the event's first full-course yellow.

His co-drivers, Mauro Baldi of Monte Carlo and Fredy Lienhard of Erlen, Switzerland, didn't even get to drive.

Theys lost his brakes near the end of an extremely fast portion of the track, Ulmann Straight, and crashed at the next turn, turn 17, near the drive-over bridge and the track's skid pad.

"All of a sudden I had no brakes," Theys said when he returned to the team transporter. "I hit hard. I was going about 150 mph, and I hit backwards.

"The front of the car is OK but the rear of the car is pushed all the way back to the gearbox," he reported. "The wing is gone for sure. There is a lot of damage.

"All I know is the headrest is good, because I hit very hard," he added, trying hard to smile.

After qualifying tenth, Theys lost several positions between the start of the race and the accident. "Yes, before that we were having some problems too because we had no grip," he explained. "The car was sliding around a lot. But the brakes were fine before I lost them. I had checked them once right before that and I had brakes, but then all of a sudden my foot went to the floor."

Earlier in the day the Doran-Lista team escaped a bullet when the car's starter failed at 7 a.m., right before the 7:30 a.m. final warm-up session. With team manager Kevin Doran directing, the crew members changed the starter in only 18 minutes and had the car back on the track at the start of the warm-up session.

After the warm-up session Theys said the car was fine and hopes were high, as nothing foreshadowed the brake problems that were to develop so suddenly.

The team's next event is next weekend at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

-dlr/lm-

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Didier Theys , Fredy Lienhard , Mauro Baldi , Kevin Doran