Sebring, 15 March, 2003 - Starting from the back of the field, the Bentley Boys crossed the line third and fourth, in a fast paced 12-Hours of Sebring. The Bentley Speed 8, number 8, driven by Johnny Herbert, David Brabham and Mark Blundell ran a trouble free race to secure the final podium position.

Teammates Tom Kristensen, Rinaldo 'Dindo' Capello and Guy Smith brought their number 7 Bentley home right behind in fourth place. The only difference separating the two Speed 8s was slight contact on lap 75 between Guy Smith and a GT car causing a brief pit stop to repair the front nose.

Tom Kristensen set the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1:49.52 further proving the pace of the Bentley. In the companion Bentley, David Brabham set that car’s fastest lap with a 1:49.74. Kristensen, taking full advantage of his strong Michelin tyres, made a very competitive pass into turn one on the number 9 Audi of Mika Salo, further proving the quickness of the car. Designed for Le Mans, the Speed 8 could not fully utilise its refined aerodynamic shape or the full power of its 4.0-litre motor to really showcase its performance on the short straights of Sebring.

Utilising the 12-Hours as a full race test in preparation for Le Mans in June, the team is delighted with the pace and durability of the Speed 8. Today's race ran from green to chequered flag with only one caution period. Prior to its Sebring debut the new Speed 8 hadn't completed a full race distance in testing. The Sebring track, being intensely rough, is unusually hard on cars, particularly those competing for the first time.

To simulate a 24-hour race the Bentley Boys will return to the track on Monday to run another 12+ hours in further preparation for Le Mans.

continues... | Part Two

Published : 18/03/03 Author : Melanie Carter

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