Round 1, Sebring Qualifying Day 1

Australian sportscar star David Brabham has kicked off his assault on the Le Mans Series by gaining provisional pole position for round one of the championship at Sebring in Florida. The 12 Hours of Sebring is the opening round of the Le Mans ...

Australian sportscar star David Brabham has kicked off his assault on the Le Mans Series by gaining provisional pole position for round one of the championship at Sebring in Florida.

The 12 Hours of Sebring is the opening round of the Le Mans Series which will culminate in Adelaide¹s Race of a Thousand Years scheduled for New Year¹s Eve this year.

Brabham clocked the fastest time aboard his Panoz LMP-1 Roadster S car in the last five minutes of an incident filled 20 minute qualifying session for Saturday's race.

He set a time of 1m 49.716 - a new track record - ahead of the number 77 Audi A8 (Alboreto/Capello/McNish) and his Panoz Motor Sports team mate Johnny O'Connell who took third place on the provisional grid.

"I did a quick time on my first hot lap but knew I could improve it so I decided to try another," Brabham said.

"Just after I started it I saw one of the BMWs (#43 Auberlen/Gounon/Soper) off the track and thought they were going to red flag the session so I backed off. The team told me over the radio that the session was still running so I had to try for another lap.

"It was my first time on new tires this weekend so it was great to feel the performance the Michelins gave us, especially on a third flying lap."

Brabham will defend his pole position in final qualifying tomorrow. The 12 Hour event will be run from 1.30am to 1.30pm on Sunday morning, Adelaide time.

Sportscar followers can follow the progress of the race which will be broadcast live through Le Mans Radio Web on the series internet site at: http://www,americanlemans.com.au.

The GTS class Chevrolet Corvette of Ron Fellows, Chris Kniefel and Justin Bell upset the fancied Dodge Viper teams to gain provisional pole in its class while the GT division was headed by the Porsche 911 GT3 R of Bruno Lambert/Randy Pobst/Kike Conte. Australian driver Rohan Skea was 15th fastest in the GT class aboard a similar Porsche machine.

<pre> QUALIFYING - PROTOTYPE DIVISION 1. - David Brabham/Jan Magnussen/Pierre Henri Rapheael - Panoz - 1:49.716 2. - Michele Albereto/Rinaldo Capello/Alan McNish - Audi - 1:49.725 3. - Johnny O¹Connell/Hiroki Katoh/Klaus Graf - Panoz - 1:50.147 4. - JJ Lehto/Jorg Muller - BMW - 1:50.491 5. - Domenic Schiattarella/Pierluigi Martini/Didier de Radigues - Lola Judd - 1:51.542 GTS DIVISION 1. - Ron Fellows/Chris Kniefel/Justin Bell - Corvette - 1:59.646 GT DIVISION 1. - Bruno Lambert/Randy Pobst/Kike Conte - Porsche GT3 R - 2:07.205

PAUL RYAN

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Rinaldo Capello , Didier de Radigues , Jan Magnussen , Bruno Lambert , Klaus Graf , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Jorg Muller , Randy Pobst , Justin Bell , Hiroki Katoh , JJ Lehto