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ALMS: Audi leading halfway into it

Marco Werner kept Audi out front through six hours at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the opening round of the 2007 American Le Mans Series on Saturday as Audi goes for its eighth straight victory at Sebring International Raceway and second in a row with the R10 TDI.

Werner, looking for his third Sebring triumph and driving with Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro, was a lap up on the leading Acura entry from P2, the Andretti Green Racing Acura ARX with Dario Franchitti at the wheel. Acura’s new prototype led twice in the race’s opening half, making it the 30th manufacturer to lead overall at America’s greatest sports car race.

The second Audi of Dindo Capello, Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen lost more than nearly 15 minutes with an ignition issue. The team changed a battery, a starter motor and the entire dashboard before Capello rejoined the race seven laps down.

In P2, Franchitti was up by five laps on Andy Wallace in the first of Dyson Racing’s Porsche RS Spyders. That gap was increasing though as Wallace’s car was stuck in fourth gear, which was repaired. That moved Luis Diaz up to second in class for Lowe’s Fernandez Racing as Acura held the top two spots in LMP2. Highcroft Racing’s Acura ARX underwent electronic repair during a 13-minute stop but was well under way with David Brabham at the wheel.

Risi Competizione’s Ferrari F430 GT led by just 15 seconds in GT2 with Jaime Melo at the wheel. The Brazilian led Marc Lieb in the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche as two of the players from last year’s climatic class finish resumed battle.

Patrick Long was third in class for Tafel Racing and Porsche, just 23 seconds behind Melo.

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