Sebring: Tuesday test notes

MINASSIAN, PEUGEOT QUICKEST IN TUESDAY TEST Peugeot's Nic Minassian set the unofficial fastest time Tuesday in the final test day prior to the start of the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, the first race of...

MINASSIAN, PEUGEOT QUICKEST IN TUESDAY TEST

Peugeot's Nic Minassian set the unofficial fastest time Tuesday in the final test day prior to the start of the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, the first race of the 2009 American Le Mans Series. Official practice starts Wednesday with the race set for 10:30 a.m. ET on Saturday.

The Frenchman, at Sebring International Raceway for the second straight year with the diesel-powered Peugeot 908 HDi, turned in a best lap of 1:44.555. He is teaming with Pedro Lamy and Christian Klien in one of the two Peugeot factory prototype coupes.

Minassian was 0.259 seconds quicker around the 17-turn, 3.7-mile circuit than Audi Sport Team Joest's Dindo Capello in one of the two brand new Audi R15 TDI prototypes. Making their worldwide event debut, the Audis sat second and third overall with Marco Werner at 1:45.630.

Acura, like Audi, is debuting a new prototype this week. Scott Dixon was the quickest of Acura's P1 pilots with a lap of 1:45.714 in the de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a.

Dyson Racing's Guy Smith was the fastest LMP2 driver with a lap of 1:51.733. The Dyson team is debuting the new Mazda-powered Lola B09/86 coupe at Sebring as part of a new long-term partnership with the Japanese manufacturer.

Jan Magnussen went quickest in GT1 in Corvette Racing's No. 3 Corvette C6.R. The Dane, defending race and class champion, posted a lap of 1:58.196 in the entry that he will share with seven-time Sebring winner Johnny O'Connell and newcomer Antonio Garcia.

Fellow first-year Corvette Racing pilot Marcel Fassler was 0.886 seconds behind in the Corvette C6.R that he will drive with Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin. This is the last appearance at Sebring for the GT1 Corvette with the team set to move into GT2 in August at Mid-Ohio.

Speaking of which, Ferrari factory driver Gianmaria Bruni was the fastest driver in class for Advanced Engineering/Pecom Racing Team and its Ferrari F430 GT. Bruni, who set a lap of 2:03.163, drove at Sebring last season for Risi Competizione and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2008 with the team.

Wolf Henzler was second quickest in GT2 for Farnbacher Loles Racing. The German Porsche factory driver's best time was a 2:03.684 in the team's Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. He is driving with full-season teammate Dirk Werner and Richard Westbrook.

Third quickest was Mika Salo in the Risi Ferrari at 2:03.740. He is teaming with the full-season pairing of Jaime Melo and Pierre Kaffer.

QUOTES FROM TUESDAY

Dirk Werner, Farnbacher Loles Racing
Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2)

"Things are going OK so far. We are working through our test program. The car was pretty good yesterday and was better today. There are a few challenges. We're still finding out what the car does in certain situations and circumstances. Plus the track is continually changing and we have to adapt to it."

Guy Smith, Dyson Racing
Lola B09/86-Mazda MZR-R (LMP2)

"It's been going OK. We are waiting on a couple final parts for the second car, which is a little disappointing. Last year we had both cars out by the this time. But once it's out it should be very good. The track is always changing; today it was sunny at the start and now it's a bit more overcast."

Oliver Gavin, Corvette Racing
Corvette C6.R (GT1)

"It's a big event for us with this being the last hurrah here for the GT1 car before we move to GT2 around Mid-Ohio. This car obviously has had tremendous success here and we really want to go out strong, particularly for the fans and the Corvette Corral members who have been so good for us. The goal is still to make the car as quick as possible and continuing to optimize it. We also are looking for directions for the development of the GT2 car."

Scott Sharp, Patron Highcroft Racing
Acura ARX-02a (LMP1)

"We are beginning to learn more and more about the car but we could still use some more track time. It was a little short overall today. Dario and I both got some laps today and we made a number of changes. We are making some progress but we need to keep making more. We were in race trim today concentrating on making the car more consistent. I had quite a long run out there this afternoon."

Gianmaria Bruni, Advanced Engineering/Pecom Racing Team
Ferrari F430 GT (GT2)

"We are working on improving the car. I obviously know the car and the track from running here with Risi Competizione last season. The car is not new to the team but this is the first time for many of them racing in the United States. But it has been a good experience so far. Our goal is to make it through the entire race. We won't be the quickest one for sure but this is all a learning experience."

Bryan Willman, Autocon Motorsports
Lola B06/10-AER (LMP1)

"We got a few laps in today, which was good. We got put off a little bit and didn't go out Monday. The car is pushing a lot but it's Tuesday. We still have lots of time."

The American Le Mans Series will open its 11th season with the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 21. SPEED will televise the race live from 10 a.m. to noon and 2-11 p.m. EDT. American Le Mans Radio and Live Timing & Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com. Sebring also will mark the debut of the MICHELIN® Green X® Challenge for 2009.

Tickets are available at americanlemans.com or by calling (800) 626-RACE. A limited number of hotel rooms and rental condos are still available. Accommodations and general information are available by contacting the Sebring Chamber of Commerce at (863) 385-8448.

-credit: alms

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Gianmaria Bruni , Antonio Garcia , Jan Magnussen , Guy Smith , Scott Sharp , Mika Salo , Scott Dixon , Pedro Lamy , Marcel Fassler , Oliver Gavin , Jaime Melo , Marco Werner , Bryan Willman , Olivier Beretta , Christian Klien , Pierre Kaffer , Wolf Henzler , Dirk Werner , Richard Westbrook , Dindo Capello
Teams Audi Sport Team Joest , Corvette Racing , Pecom Racing , Risi Competizione , Dyson Racing