A weekend in Florida that was to have it all has come to an end. Needless to say, it had everything one could want from a race. In the end Audi flexed the muscle of the new R15 and sent a clear message to Peugeot for LeMans.
The biggest suprise in my opinion was how quickly the Acura was a non factor. Just a couple short days ago we were singing the praises of Acura during the qualifications period. The car was not there all day and proved that it had nothing in the long run for the diesel. Was it the fact that Acura knew they would be the only cars really in the LMP1 class aftrer Sebring, or was it the fact that all the tires are the same size? Eventually the car went behind the wall further knocking it out of the competition.
The epic battle round 6 that unfolded over the course of the 12 hour event came down to a splash and go for Alan Mcnish and countless minor mistakes by the Peugeot in the closing stages. Franck Montagny dropped the wheels of the 908 Coupe in the closing stages after double stinting the tires. (a strategy Peugeot used most of the race) The Audi R15 as opposed to the previous R10 was very manuverable and was able to do really anything the team needed it to in order to sustain the fight. The Peugeot equally was lightning and proved to be a huge difference than the 908s of old. In the end they swapped the lead 23 times between each other, but in the end the tire wear on the Peugeot after repeatedly double stinting became too much and the Audi was able to build the 55 second gap needed to stop and come out ahead. The win marks the third seperate Audi prototype that has come into the sport and won its debut race.
The LMP2 series was slightly dull as Adrian Fernandez and the Acura held off the two Dyson Mazdas. There is one catch however. Both of the dyson machines retired with problems. Even with the retirements though, it would have been the Acura taking the victory as the Mazdas were not there the whole weekend. Adrian Fernandez also secures a much needed win in the light LMP2 series championship considering past events that have hampered the Mexican star.
The GT1 class featured the two Corvettes battling each other. Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen were teamed with Antonio Garcia and brought home their second GT1 win. The final GT1 win for Corvette racing who will go to GT2 next year. The last race for the ALMS Corvettes will be Long Beach before they attack the GT1 class at LeMans later this year.
The GT2 class was filled with drama and great beating and banging racing all day. The #62 Ferrari 430 took home the victory at the hands of Mika Salo. This is Ferrari’s second victory in three years at Sebring and all be it a little less dramatic than the one in 2007. The team comfortably finished two laps ahead of the competition. The main rivals to the F430, the Flying Lizards Porsche and Farenbacher Porsche each had troubles throughout the day that ensured they would not be challenging for the victory. In my humble opinion I thought this was some of the best racing all day. Contact between the Flying Lizards and the Ford GTR early on saw a bent suspension component was not enough to stop the team, but in the end there was nothing that could be done to stop the powerful Ferrari.