Germans Dominate 60th Sebring 12 Hour Race

Motorsport

Audi won the opening round of the 2012 WEC as BMW won the GT category.

Audi has given its R18 TDI a perfect farewell to a great racing career with a convincing victory at the 60th edition of the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida, the first round of this year's World Endurance Championship (WEC). Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish steered Audi No. 2 to the marque's 10th success at the prestigious event in the LMP1 category. In second place came the trio of Loic Duval, in his Audi debut, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas driving car No. 3.

The race was interrupted by a total of 11 caution periods as Capello/Kristensen/McNish in the R18 TDI had to work hard for their victory. Their rivals consistently remained within a striking distance with gaps of a few seconds in the first ten hours of the race. The safety car repeatedly reduced the gaps of the trio at the front but Bernhard/Dumas/Duval lost four laps shortly before the end of the race due to body contact with a competitor. Audi played a strategic game with its third car, run by the Joset Team. The drivers here were more preoccupied with the competitors behind them.

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Therefore they let the two cars up front increase the gap from their pursuers and run a trouble-free race. That tactic worked perfectly as the squad set alternating pit stop intervals for its two best R18 TDI cars which consistently kept their quickest rivals from HPD-Honda one lap behind the two diesel-powered sports cars. The race was dominated by heavy traffic and a large number of accidents in the field of 63 entrants. The third Audi initially had a perfect chance of finishing in a top position, after starting the race from the pole position. However, shortly before the race's midpoint, the car lost 17 laps through a technical glitch.

In third place came the HPD-Honda team car, leading the LMP2 category, six laps off the pace of the winner's 325 laps. Another HPD-Honda finished fourth in front of a Morgan-Judd (LMP2) and Pescarolo-Judd (LMP1). BMW RLL won the prestigious GT category in front of a Corvette C6.R and a Ferrari 458 Italia. However Ferrari drivers Olivier Beretta, Andrea Bertolini and Marco Cioci and their team are leading the World Championship, as the two GT cars who finished in front of them do not take part in the championship.

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