INTERSPORT BEAT PORSCHE TO CLAIM CLASS WIN AND SECOND OVERALL IN SEBRING 12 HOURS The privateer Intersport Racing team, consisting of Jon Field, Clint Field and Liz Halliday, enjoyed a perfect start to the 2006 American Le Mans Series yesterday...
INTERSPORT BEAT PORSCHE TO CLAIM CLASS WIN AND SECOND OVERALL IN SEBRING 12 HOURS
The privateer Intersport Racing team, consisting of Jon Field, Clint Field and Liz Halliday, enjoyed a perfect start to the 2006 American Le Mans Series yesterday when they beat the mighty Porsche factory team to LMP2 class victory in the 54th running of the Sebring 12 Hours, while at the same time finishing a hugely impressive 2nd overall to the awesome new Audi R10.
Intersport owner and lead driver, Jon Field was forced to start from the back of the grid, following a puncture on his out lap in qualifying. Nevertheless, Jon, Clint and Liz drove a storming race to scythe through the pack taking the lead of the LMP2 class just two hours into the race. During the fourth hour, they benefited from the retirement of one of the works Audi's to move up to second overall whilst first in class. They held that position comfortably until the middle of the tenth hour when the Porsche overtook them for the lead. The Intersport drivers kept their cool and had their faith rewarded when, with 22 laps to go, their Porsche rival stopped on the track wit mechanical problems. Intersport duly reclaimed the lead and Liz Halliday took the car to the finish to score the team's best ever win.
After his exceptional drive, Jon Field said: "I made a good start from the back of the grid, overtaking as many people as possible but making sure I stayed out of trouble at the same time! It was an awesome race and I enjoyed every minute of it! We drove our own race and we played catch up with the number 1 Porsche all day. In the end, they broke down trying to catch us. This is a great win, probably the best that we've ever had as a team. Liz also became the highest placing woman driver ever at Sebring, beating Lynn St James who had managed fifth overall in the past. We did not have a trouble free race! We had some engine issues from the seventh hour and every time we came into the pits, AER engineers would download a new mapping but it did not make any difference. We think that problems started when Clint was forced to go off the track at high speed when the Audi spun in front of him. We think that some dirt got into the injectors. Nevertheless, we made it to the finish and the pleasure is even stronger!"
Jon's son and team mate Clint Field added: "At the beginning of the race, the weather was so hot and the track so greasy that we decided to be careful and make sure we looked after the car and did not damage it. With the exception of a scary moment avoiding a spinning Audi our plan worked out and we were ready to push hard when dusk arrived. We tried everything we could to keep the Porsche behind but we had picked up a misfire and they finally got by towards the end of the race. We continued to push hard and then they broke down as we were racing them. It was a great day and I am delighted for the team, Jon and Liz. We now need to capitalize on this result for the next race in Houston on 13th May. To win our class and finish second overall behind the works Audi team is a major achievement and this is my personal best ever overall finish in the ALMS. I would like also to thank Goodyear - they gave us great tyres this weekend and hopefully they can continue to do so throughout the year. We should get some softer compounds for Houston and hopefully they will be as good as the tyres we had today."
Jon and Clint's teammate Liz Halliday concluded the day by saying: "This is a magic day for the team and I want to applaud Jon and Clint for doing such an awesome job in giving Porsche a run for their money. It wasn't an easy drive today, but I loved every second of it -- and what an honour to drive the car to the chequered flag in the final stint of the race. The team and the mechanics worked hard all week and they really deserve this result. Today we beat Porsche fair and square which, as a privateer team, is a major achievement."
Liz's result is the highest ever finish for a female driver in the history of the Sebring 12 Hours and she also holds the highest number of wins for female drivers in the ALMS.