Audi goes 1-2 at Sebring

SEBRING — Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Oliver Jarvis edged their Audi teammates by 7.68 seconds Saturday to win the 61st 12 Hours of Sebring, the opener to the final season of the American Le Mans Series.

Next year the Sebring race will be part of the new United SportsCar Racing series as a result of a merger with the Grand-Am series. That will put the Sebring race and the Rolex 24 at Daytona under the same umbrella.

The pole-sitting No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro edged the car driven by record six-time Sebring champion Tom Kristensen, Lucas di Grassi and Allan McNish.

The Audis had a dominant run for the manufacturer's second consecutive victory and 11th since 2000.

Team Joest drivers Treluyer, Fassler and Jarvis completed 364 laps. The nearest competitor in the Le Mans Prototpye class was the Lola of Nicolas Prost, Nick Heidfeld and Neel Jani in third, five laps behind.

Jarvis achieved a rare double, following his GT class victory in the Rolex 24. That was the Briton's first time driving in either American endurance classic.

Former St. Petersburg IndyCar winner Ryan Briscoe teamed with Scott Tucker and Marino Franchitti to take the LMP2 class in a Honda ARX-03b. They edged teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and Simon Pagenaud, both from IndyCar, and Tucker, the team owner who had stints in both cars.

It was the fourth consecutive class victory at Sebring for both Level 5 Motorsports and Tucker, tying the record in the respective categories.

David Cheng, Michael Guasch and David Ostella won the PC class in an ORECA after taking the lead in the final 30 minutes.

Oliver Gavin, Tom Milner and Richard Westbrook took the GT class in a Chevrolet Corvette C6, edging the Ferrari of Gianmaria Bruni, Olivier Beretta and Matteo Malucelli by 2.7 seconds. Cooper MacNeil, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Dion von Moltke won the GTC class in a Porsche 911 GT3.

Two area drivers competed. Tampa's Ed Brown was part of the Honda team that finished 13th overall, fourth in LMP2, and Tampa resident Jan Heylen, a Belgian, was a co-driver in a Porsche 911 that finished 27th overall, fourth in GTC.

Audi goes 1-2 at Sebring 03/16/13 [Last modified: Sunday, March 17, 2013 1:21am]

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