Sebring: Audi teams race report

Historic 1-2-3 victory for Audi at Sebring For the fifth consecutive time, Audi has won the 12 Hour race at Sebring (Florida), again writing motorsport history. The Audi R8 is the first sports car that has won the endurance race, held since...

Historic 1-2-3 victory for Audi at Sebring

For the fifth consecutive time, Audi has won the 12 Hour race at Sebring (Florida), again writing motorsport history. The Audi R8 is the first sports car that has won the endurance race, held since 1952, five times in a row. For Frank Biela, who shared Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx's winning Audi R8 with rookie Pierre Kaffer and Ex-Formula 1 driver Allan McNish, it was also a historic success: After Olivier Gendebien, Phil Hill, Mario Andretti and Hans-Joachim Stuck, the Audi works driver is only the fifth driver who achieved three Sebring victories.

The race at a glance

Start positions: 1 #38 Lehto; 2 #28 McNish; 4 #88 Herbert

Start: #38 Lehto takes the lead in front of #28 McNish, #16 Weaver and #88 Herbert

Hour 1: #88 Herbert moves to third on lap 5 making it an Audi 1-2-3 lead. #28 McNish takes the lead from #38 Lehto on lap 13 and opens a gap of 10 seconds

Hour 2: #28 Biela loses about 10 seconds during pit-stop when the car is released to the ground too early. As a consequence, #38 Werner closes the gap again and passes #28 Biela on lap 62

Hour 3: #38 Werner extends lead to 30 seconds

Hour 4: #38 Werner loses most of his lead due to a caution period. After the restart, #38 Werner and #28 Biela go wide under braking at the same time, #88 Davies passes both of them. #38 Werner makes contact with a GT car, repairs of damaged right side-pod and coolers during another caution period cost nine laps, dropping the #38 car to 7th position. #28 Kaffer goes wide after a restart

Hour 5: #28 Kaffer takes the lead, #38 Pirro moves to fourth position

Hour 6: #28 Kaffer loses lead to #88 Smith after precautionary rear bodywork change, #38 Pirro promoted to third

Hour 7: #28 Kaffer retakes lead from #88 Smith. #88 Herbert loses 13 laps (39 minutes) due to seal change of left rear drive shaft, dropping him to 5th place. #38 Lehto promoted to second place

Hour 8: Contact between #38 Lehto und #28 McNish

Hour 10: #88 Herbert moves to third, giving Audi a 1-2-3 lead again

Hour 12: Stop-and-go penatly for #38 Pirro (speeding in the pit-lane)

Finish: #28 Kaffer crosses the finish-line five laps ahead of #38 Pirro and 12 laps ahead of #88 Davies

5th consecutive Sebring victory for Audi and the Audi R8

Third Sebring triumph for Frank Biela

Pierre Kaffer wins at his sports car debut

First Sebring success for Allan McNish

Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx wins at its debut

34th ALMS victory for the Audi R8

Quotes after the race

Frank Biela (Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx Audi R8 #28): "Like Le Mans, Sebring is a very special race. Winning Sebring for the third time is fantastic. We had very strong competition today which makes this victory even sweeter. This is a perfect way to start off my 2004 season - I hope I can enjoy the same success in DTM and at Le Mans."

Marco Werner (Team ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 #38): "Second place is certainly a good result, despite being very unhappy. At the beginning the car was perfect, but after the first caution period the trouble started. The collision with the GT car, that suddenly moved over on me, cost us the race. This was not my day."

Johnny Herbert (Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx Audi R8 #88): "I thought I'd got a puncture at first but it was obviously lubricant spraying on to the tyre. It's a shame, everything was looking good, we were comfortably in second place less than half a minute behind our team-mates but to recover on to the rostrum is pleasing."

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Sebring is one of the very hard endurance races. By winning this race five times in a row you can say with a good conscience that this is no coincidence. This 1-2-3 victory proves that Audi has built a great car and we are again and again able to get strong drivers and teams."

-www.audi-sportpress.com

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Allan McNish , Frank Biela , Hans-Joachim Stuck , Phil Hill , Mario Andretti , Marco Werner , Pierre Kaffer