Sebring: Champion Racing race report

Two-time Sebring 12 Hour race winner Stefan Johansson claimed second position in the 50th running of the classic American sportscar endurance race on Saturday (16 Mar) in front of a near 200,000 crowd. Driving a "customer" 2001-specification ...

Two-time Sebring 12 Hour race winner Stefan Johansson claimed second position in the 50th running of the classic American sportscar endurance race on Saturday (16 Mar) in front of a near 200,000 crowd.

Driving a "customer" 2001-specification Champion Racing Audi R8 the Swede, partnered by fellow former Grand Prix driver Jan Lammers, of Holland, and Briton Andy Wallace, finished one-lap behind the winning "factory" entered Audi R8 of Johnny Herbert/Rinaldo Capello/Christian Pescatori.

Wallace started the ADT-sponsored Audi from fifth place on the capacity 60-car grid but quickly made up places to slot into third place on the opening lap. Johansson moved into second place approaching the three hour mark when the second placed Infineon Audi of Capello/Herbert/Pescatori suffered a prolonged pit-stop to replace a rear suspension link.

The Champion Audi then clawed its way back on to the lead lap when the leading Frank Biela/Emanuele Pirro/Tom Kristensen Audi made an unscheduled pit-stop allowing Johansson to within 64-secs after three hours with the Herbert Audi now a lap down in third.

Lammers slipped to third place behind the two "factory" Audis, one lap down, shortly after one-quarter distance while Herbert snatched the lead from Biela on five hours. But the Champion Audi, now with Wallace at the wheel, moved into second place shortly after mid-distance when second-placed Biela made a lengthy pit-stop with a power-steering problem.

The order remained static with the Herbert/Capello/Pescatori leading the Champion Audi by around a lap for the final hours to the chequered flag - Jan surviving a spin at the last corner on the final lap.

Stefan Johansson: "The Audi just improved with every lap. I was really hooked up in my second stint and the car allowed me to be pretty aggressive. A caution period when we managed to get back on the lead lap in the closing stages would have made the finish interesting but it didn't materialise. I hate finishing second!"

Jan Lammers: "Spinning at the last corner on the final lap shows that I still have a lot to learn! The car was extremely good throughout the race, it didn't miss a beat, and the team worked extremely hard all week. We only just missed out on the top spot."

Andy Wallace: "During my first stint at the start of the race, the handling was not great after my tyres grained. But the car was superb for my next stint. All three of us drove really hard - we gave everything - but it wasn't quite good enough."

Johansson/Lammers/Wallace - Champion Racing Audi R8 (Hourly Positions): Hour 1: 5th (-11.163secs); Hour 2: 3rd (-1 lap); Hour 3: 2nd (-64secs); Hour 4: 3rd (-93secs); Hour 5: 3rd (-1 lap); Hour 6: 3rd (-1 lap); Hour 7: 2nd (-1 lap); Hour 8: 2nd (3mins 55); Hour 9: 2nd (-1 lap); Hour 10: 2nd (-1 lap). Hour 11: 2nd (-1 lap). Hour 12 2nd (-1 lap).

Driver stints: Wallace (1030-1222); Johansson (1222-1413); Lammers (1413-1618); Wallace (1618-1804); Johansson (1804-2024); Lammers (2024-2230).

-audi-uk-

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Andy Wallace , Jan Lammers , Johnny Herbert , Stefan Johansson , Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Frank Biela , Christian Pescatori , Emanuele Pirro