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Thursday, March 13, 2003

Team ADT Champion Audi starts the 51st 12 Hours of Sebring from the front row of the 57-car grid.

2000 Sebring race winner Emanuele Pirro set the fourth fastest time in the 25-minute qualifying session today (THURSDAY) driving the 2002-spec ADT Champion Audi R8.

However, the qualifying times of both ‘works’ Bentleys were later disallowed. On both British Sport Prototypes the rear diffusor did not conform to the height rules.

This gave Frank Biela his third Sebring pole position in four years and a record ninth in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). No other driver has recorded more poles in the prototype class of the ALMS.

With the two R8 sportscars of Infineon Team Joest and Team ADT Champion Racing, two Audi prototypes will start Saturday’s race from the front row. Audi Sport UK’s R8 holds the fourth spot on the grid.

Emanuele Pirro
“In terms of qualifying, I’m a little disappointed only to be fourth on the grid but for the race, I believe we have a very good set-up,” commented 2001 American Le Mans Series champion Pirro.

“I’m very optimistic we will have a good race. This will be my first race for Champion and I’m determined that it’s a good one.”

JJ Lehto
is also be experiencing his maiden American Le Mans Series race with the Florida-based Champion team in Saturday’s event which starts at 10.30am. “Practice this week has gone well. All three drivers like the same set-up which is very important so we don’t make compromises.

“I think I have a good chance of repeating my 1999 Sebring victory but the competition is tough. Not only from the other two Audis, but the two Bentleys and also the LMP675 Lolas are going to be strong. Stay out of trouble and being consistent is the key”.

1984 & ‘97 Sebring winner Stefan Johansson is also optimistic that it will be third time lucky for Champion Racing who have finished third and second in the corresponding race over the past two years.

“Our car has been very good since we arrived last Friday – I’m very happy with it. We’ve a decent balance and I believe we’ll have a good race. I’ve got two good team-mates and the team has really gelled – I’m very hopeful of a podium.”

Brad Kettler, Champion Racing Technical Director
"I'm satisfied with qualifying but I believe the race will better. The drivers are comfortable and the team are in excellent spirits and ready for a successful race - we're in a good position."

12h Sebring
:: Practice - Mon
:: Practice - Tue
:: Practice - Wed
:: Qualifying
:: Practice - Thu
:: Practice - Fri
:: The Race

Emanuele Pirro, Champion Audi R8, leading also on second testday