Sebring: Champion Racing Thursday report

AMERICAN LE MANS QUALIFYING RAINED OUT AT 12 HOURS OF SEBRING RACE SEBRING, Fl. (March 17, 2005) - The much anticipated heavy rain finally hit Central Florida, necessitating the cancellation of qualifying for Round One of the American Le Mans...

AMERICAN LE MANS QUALIFYING RAINED OUT AT 12 HOURS OF SEBRING RACE

SEBRING, Fl. (March 17, 2005) - The much anticipated heavy rain finally hit Central Florida, necessitating the cancellation of qualifying for Round One of the American Le Mans Series. Due to the inclement weather conditions, a provisional grid has been announced for the 53rd running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

The grid was set by combining the best practice times from the two practice sessions Wednesday (Practice Session #1 and Practice Session #2) and Thursday morning's session (Practice #3). The Thursday afternoon time period allotted for qualifying will be used as an open practice session. This evening's practice is still scheduled, weather permitting.

The starting grid does not become official until one hour after Saturday morning's warm-up session scheduled to end at 8:40 am.

If no changes occur, Team ADT Champion Racing will start from the front row for this historic sports car race. The Audi R8 #1 earned the pole position with drivers JJ Lehto, Marco Werner and Tom Kristensen. The sister car piloted by Emanuele Pirro, Frank Biela and Allan McNish will start alongside. This is Team ADT Champion Racing's second 12 Hours of Sebring pole position.

The 53rd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will get the green flag at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, March 19, and will be televised live from 10:30 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. by SPEED Channel. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have also have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.

TEAM ADT CHAMPION RACING AUDI R8 #1

JJ Lehto (Fin)
12 Hours of Sebring - seventh career appearance including 2005

"I got pole at Sebring for two years in a row now. Of course we were a bit lucky this time, but we would have had a car to achieve this anyway. Conditions have been very difficult so far. The track has been bad as never before in the previous years and we don't know yet how the rain will affect the track. But I am pretty confident. The car is good and I am happy I have such a good team around me."

Marco Werner (D)
12 Hours of Sebring - third career appearance including 2005

"Today we've seen again how important it is to give 100 percent anytime you are in the car - even in a free practice session. This gave us pole position. Of course, the first place on the grid is not so important in a 12-hour race. But two Audi R8 cars on the front row make up a nice picture when the race starts."

Tom Kristensen (Den)
12 Hours of Sebring - sixth career appearance including 2005

"Obviously I am very happy we are on pole. I know Sebring well. We've tested here earlier this year and I had so many miles in the R8 that I don't see it as a problem I wont have too many laps before the race. I know that Marco, JJ and Team Champion have prepared a good car."

TEAM ADT CHAMPION RACING AUDI R8 #2

Frank Biela (D)
12 Hours of Sebring - seventh career appearance including 2005

"Things are looking good for Audi and for the Champion team. But it is difficult to judge were we are really standing because track conditions kept changing all the time. One time, there was more grip, the next time less - and on top of that the rain on Thursday. I think the situation has never been as open before the start of the race."

Emanuele Pirro (It)
12 Hours of Sebring - seventh career appearance including 2005

"Normally at Sebring there is every day more rubber on the track and you get more and more grip. This time this was not the case due to the changing weather conditions. We had to modify the setup a little bit and I am very happy with the work we did. Both our cars very equally fast in all the sessions. We have a very good setup for the race, so I'm looking forward to it."

Allan McNish (GB)
12 Hours of Sebring - third career appearance including 2005

"I know the Audi R8 very well and I know Sebring very well. Losing track time because of the weather doesn't affect me as much as it would other drivers. When I did the installation lap this morning it was too wet to go full throttle. From that point of view it was the right decision to cancel qualifying."

Dave Maraj (Team Director Team ADT Champion Racing): "It is a very good feeling to have both cars on the front row of the grid, especially as all the AUDI AG board members are coming to see the race. We are well prepared, the cars are running well, we are in a good position and hope to have a nice clean race."

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "2005 is most likely the last season for the Audi R8. Seeing to of our R8 sports cars start from the front row of the grid at Sebring at the beginning of this season, makes me especially happy as the R8 started its winning streak at Sebring exactly five years ago."

-cr-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Tom Kristensen , Allan McNish , Frank Biela , Marco Werner , Dave Maraj , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto