Sebring: Tuesday test notes

Pirro leads Sebring test for second day. SEBRING, Fla. (March 11, 2003) -- For the second consecutive day, Emanuele Pirro was on top of the speed charts Tuesday as American Le Mans Series teams tested their cars for Saturday's season-opening ...

Pirro leads Sebring test for second day.

SEBRING, Fla. (March 11, 2003) -- For the second consecutive day, Emanuele Pirro was on top of the speed charts Tuesday as American Le Mans Series teams tested their cars for Saturday's season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Pirro, the 2001 American Le Mans Series champion, drove the ADT Champion Audi R8 to a lap of 1:49.819, fastest of the 46 cars that recorded times during Tuesday's unofficial testing session. Official practice will be held Wednesday, with qualifying set for Thursday.

Pirro was also fast in Monday's test session in the Audi Prototype that he will co-drive with Stefan Johansson and JJ Lehto in Saturday's race. Pirro, who was part of the winning team at Sebring in 2000, joined the Florida-based Champion team this season after three years as part of the factory Audi team.

Frank Biela, driving the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8, was second-fastest on Tuesday with a lap of 1:49.824. Biela and Pirro were co-drivers on the factory team the past three seasons, but Biela will team with Phillip Peter and Marco Werner in the Sebring event.

A big surprise in Tuesday's testing was the speed posted by the LMP 675 car co-driven by John Nielsen and Hayanari Shimoda, third-fastest overall at 1:50.823. The car, a DBA4-03S powered by a Zytek engine, edged the Bentley Speed 8 of David Brabham, Johnny Herbert and Mark Blundell, which posted a lap of 1:51.000. Rounding out the top five was the Dyson Racing Lola EX257-MG, also running in the LMP 675 class, which was clocked at 1:51.603. James Weaver, Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace are co-driving the car.

Competition on the testing day was also close in the production classes. In GTS, the Veloqx Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello of Anthony Davidson, Darren Turner and Kelvin Burt led the way with a lap of 2:00.206. Close behind was the Chevrolet Corvette C5-R of Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim at 2:00.438, followed by the other factory 'Vette of Ron Fellows, Franck Freon and Johnny O'Connell at 2:01.347.

In the GT class, defending series champions Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr asserted themselves to lead the class with a lap of 2:07.123 in the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS. The Petersen Motorsports Porsche, driven by Nic Jonsson, Johnny Mowlem and Craig Stanton, was a close second at 2:07.181, followed by the second Job Porsche driven by Jorg Bergmeister and Timo Bernhard at 2:07.275.

The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will start at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 15, at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway. Ticket information is available online at www.sebringraceway.com or by calling (863) 655-1442, or toll-free in Florida (800) 626-RACE. Four classes of American Le Mans Series cars will compete in the event, with 57 cars in the paddock on Tuesday. Some cars ran without timing transponders in the unofficial testing session.

The race will be televised live from flag-to-flag by the SPEED Channel, with live coverage by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web online at www.americanlemans.com.

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Series ALMS
Teams Dyson Racing , Alex Job Racing