Sebring Audi Bounces back in qualifying

Audi will start the opening round of the Le Mans Series in pole position after German Frank Biela drove his repaired Audi R8 to the fastest time in today's final qualifying session at the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida. After team-mate Thomas...

Audi will start the opening round of the Le Mans Series in pole position after German Frank Biela drove his repaired Audi R8 to the fastest time in today's final qualifying session at the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida.

After team-mate Thomas Kristensen crashed on Wednesday, the Audi squad bounced back to not only grab pole position, but earn an all-Audi front row.

After concentrating on race set-ups during the morning practice sessions, the Panoz team headed by Australia's David Brabham sat out the final qualifying session - electing to sit on their times from Wednesday.

This was good enough for Brabham to occupy the second row alongside the team's sister car, while BMW complete the two-by-two formation after qualifying fifth and sixth.

"After yesterday's crash I was a bit worried," Biela said.

"But the car was a bit better than yesterday and I got a perfect lap without traffic. The car feels much faster and we've been improving the performance, test by test."

While the Audi squad were busy overnight, their German neighbours at BMW faced a huge task after Jean-Marc Gounon heavily crashed his V12 LMR.

"The car is fine. The mechanics worked all night, they changed nearly everything - engine, suspension, bodywork, gearbox, differential - everything." Gounon said.

While Brabham was disappointed to see his Wednesday time eclipsed, he is confident of a strong result in Saturday's race.

"I was pleased yesterday but today we took the decision to miss qualifying and concentrate on the race," Brabham said.

"I'm really looking forward to the event. It's going to be tough, that's for sure!"

The GTS class Chevrolet Corvette of Ron Fellows, Chris Kniefel and Justin Bell upheld their advantage over the Dodge Viper teams in final qualifying while the Dirk Muller/Lucas Luhr combination earned the GT pole.

The 12-Hours of Sebring is the opening round of the Le Mans Series which will culminate in Adelaide's Race of a Thousand Years on December 31, this year.

-Paul Ryan-

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Dirk Müller , Frank Biela , Ron Fellows , Ryan Paul , Jean-Marc Gounon