Sebring: Horag Racing race report

Horag Racing Gets Top-Five Finish in LMP2 In Saturday's Twelve Hours of Sebring SEBRING, Fla., March 15 - The Horag Racing team got valuable experience with its brand-new Porsche RS Spyder Saturday at Sebring International Raceway, running in...

Horag Racing Gets Top-Five Finish in LMP2 In Saturday's Twelve Hours of Sebring

SEBRING, Fla., March 15 - The Horag Racing team got valuable experience with its brand-new Porsche RS Spyder Saturday at Sebring International Raceway, running in the top 10 overall throughout the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida and finishing fifth in the very competitive LMP2 class and seventh overall.

The beautiful red-and-white No. 27, which is sponsored by Lista, Making Workspace Work and Lista Office LO, ran in seventh place in the very competitive LMP2 class most of the day. After the Andretti Green Acura overheated and dropped out the Horag team advanced to sixth in class and eighth overall at the checkered. About two hours after the race it moved up one more spot in class and overall when the second-place Acura of Lowe's Fernandez Racing didn't pass the post-race technical inspection.

Didier Theys of Scottsdale, Ariz.; Fredy Lienhard of Niederteufen, Switzerland and Jan Lammers of Katwyk, the Netherlands, handled the driving duties for the Horag Racing team, which is based in Sulgen, Switzerland. Lammers started eighth in class and 12th overall with the Michelin-shod car.

The team really only had 17 difficult minutes in the 720-minute race, completing 333 laps in the 12-hour time span. That was the same number of laps recorded by the big-buck Audi No. 2 LMP1 car of Lucas Luhr, Mike Rockenfeller and Marco Werner, which finished just one position ahead of the privateer Lista team overall.

The Horag team suffered a dash of bad luck about four hours and 33 minutes into the race when Theys spun in Turn 4, most likely due to oil on the 3.7-mile road course, and backed into a tire wall. He was able to return to the pits on his own and the Horag Racing pit crew did a great job to get him back underway quickly, replacing the Porsche's rear wing and rear bodywork assembly and looking the suspension over very carefully before allowing him to rejoin the field.

Theys then had a close call on the restart when Jaime Melo's Ferrari and Dirk Werner's Porsche collided while he was running with them in Turn 7. Only Theys' fast reaction time saved him from getting involved.

"We were lucky on that one," Theys said afterwards.

Theys was able to record laps after his accident that were just as fast as he had been running before it. The only thing really lost was the laps the car would have completed in those 17 minutes, as the No. 27's position was seventh in class before the contact and seventh in class after it.

The team received a couple of minor penalties but preserved to finish the race, always the first goal in racing. Lammers had a quick spin late in the race, but no contact all day. The air-intake vents on the left-front wheel well were torn out by tire debris while Lienhard was behind the wheel, but those things were really inconsequential.

The car was even faster at the end of the race than it was in the beginning. For most of the race the No. 27's fastest lap was the 1:50.316 Lammers ran on lap 44, but he topped that on lap 328 of the 333 laps the car completed with a 1:50.119 for an average speed of 120.96 miles per hour.

The event, the season opener for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), was covered live on SPEED.

Didier Theys: "We knew going into this race that it would be the toughest race of the season for us. We have a good car and good support. We're missing a little speed to play with the big boys, but really, even if we had been able to afford more testing I don't think it would have made a difference with the results with this level of competition and the way things went for us today.

"The team did a great job. We learned a lot for the next race. It was very good practice for a full season of racing in Europe."

Fredy Lienhard: "It was a good race for us.  I had two very good stints with
consistent laps and no problems.  We had a good race, and I'm happy.

"My last stint was as the sun was setting, and the glare made it hard to see. You couldn't see the braking zones very well.

"I did about two hours and 50 minutes in the car, so I did what I planned to do. I was in better shape than ever because I've been training.

"I think we have a terrific team. The support from Porsche was also excellent.

"Spain will be easier.  The bumps here really hurt my neck. But it was good
experience for us.  We didn't do badly for a private team."

Jan Lammers: "I think it was extremely educational.

"I had one embarrassing double stint. I wasn't buckled in comfortably, I had problems with the windscreen and my helmet and a few other things, and it just didn't go well. However, everything was fine for my last stint, so I'm glad I was able to do that one and end on a better note.

"I did have a spin in Turn 13 during that last stint, but it was a short deal with no contact. I didn't have any contact with anyone all day.

"It was very good to do this race and get the chance to work with the car and the guys and discuss some things we can try to do better. It was good preparation for the rest of the season. Barcelona is never easy, but we learned a lot here that will help us there.

"I really want to thank Fredy and Didier for giving me this opportunity."

-credit: hr

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Jan Lammers , Didier Theys , Fredy Lienhard , Lucas Luhr , Jaime Melo , Marco Werner , Mike Rockenfeller