Bill Auberlen set a new lap record and won the season-opening round of the 2006 SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car season, taking the checkered flag by 0.829sec. in his No. 2 Turner Motorsport/H&R Springs BMW 325i over Randy Pobst. Pierre Kleinubing finished third.
Starting from the pole, Auberlen withstood an immediate, unexpected charge from Seth Thomas who shot from his fifth-starting position in his No. 38 BimmerWorld Racing/Performance Friction BMW 325i to challenge for the lead going into the first turn. Auberlen shut the door without incident and moved away as Thomas battled for second behind.
“I think this year at Sebring was very fast compared to other years,” said Auberlen, who set a new race lap record of 2:20.562 (94.762 mph) on the fourth lap, after set a new qualifying mark the day before. “The weather has been a little cooler, and the track seemed to be a little quicker. The car loves Sebring, and I love Sebring.”
The SCCA SPEED Touring Car race, part of the 54th Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, will be broadcast on SPEED Channel at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 19.