Sebring: Qualifying report

Biela Shatters Record In Winning Pole For 12 Hours Of Sebring SEBRING, Fla. (March 14, 2002) -- Frank Biela shattered his own track record in winning the pole position Thursday for Saturday's 50th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring,...

Biela Shatters Record In Winning Pole For 12 Hours Of Sebring

SEBRING, Fla. (March 14, 2002) -- Frank Biela shattered his own track record in winning the pole position Thursday for Saturday's 50th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, presented by Dodge, at Sebring International Raceway. The race will kick off the 2002 American Le Mans Series season.

Biela, from Germany, drove an Audi R8 Prototype to a lap of 123.300 mph (1:48.029) on the 3.7-mile circuit and will lead a 60-car field in Saturday's sports car endurance race. He and co-drivers Tom Kristensen and Emanuele Pirro have won the last two runnings of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and also won the 2000 Sebring race. Biela's previous track record of 1:48.825 had been set in 2000.

"Coming here is always something special," said Biela. "The 50th just makes it more so. Sebring, Le Mans and Road Atlanta (Petit Le Mans) are races that all sports car drivers want to win."

Qualifying second was the second factory Audi driven by Rinaldo Capello, Christian Pescatori and Johnny Herbert. Pulling a major surprise by qualifying third was the MG Lola EX257 driven by Johnny Kane of England, which was also the fastest car in the LMP 675 class for smaller Prototypes. He will co-drive with Americans Mel Hawkins and Steve Knight.

Ron Fellows of Canada was the fastest qualifier in the GTS class in a Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, his third Sebring pole in the last four years. Fellows, seeking his first Sebring win, will co-drive with Johnny O'Connell and Oliver Gavin.

Leading the GT class was the Porsche 911 GT3 RS driven by defending race winners Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr. Maassen won the pole for the second straight year, jumping to the top of the chart in the final minute of the qualifying session.

The race starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and will be televised live from start to finish by the SPEED Channel. Live coverage by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web can also be heard online at www.imsaracing.net.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Frank Biela , Christian Pescatori , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Oliver Gavin , Steve Knight , Emanuele Pirro