Diesel Audi takes debut win



German marque warms up for Le Mans 24 Hours by slaying expected Porsche opposition.
Chevrolet takes revenge on Aston Martin by winning fight for GT1

Audi’s groundbreaking diesel-fuelled R10 sports-racer has made history by winning the Sebring 12 Hours on its race debut.

Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello took the flag with a four-lap advantage to provide the perfect start to Audi’s Le Mans 24 Hours preparations.

The expected challenge from the brace of Penske-run Porsche LMP2 cars hit mechanical problems, meaning that the lead Audi crew could afford to make precautionary pitstops to cure minor dramas such as a fuel-pressure problem.

The sister R10 of Emanuele Pirro, Marco Werner and Frank Biela retired at one-third distance due to overheating caused by tyre rubber clogging up the radiators.

Audi sports chief Wolfgang Ullrich hailed the win as possibly even more significant than the maiden World Rally Championship victory of the Audi Quattro, which successfully brought four-wheel-drive technology to rallying’s top level in 1981.

In the hotly contested GT1 category, Chevrolet got revenge for its 2005 defeat at the hands of Aston Martin: the winning Corvette ofJan Magnussen, Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta pipped the DBR9 of Stéphane Sarrazin, Pedro Lamy and Jason Bright by just one lap.

There was a breakthrough for Panoz in GT2, where the Esperante of David Brabham, Scott Maxwell and Sebastien Bourdais triumphed.