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PSR: Schneider/Ludwig and Mercedes Win at Sebring

21 October 1997

Sebring, FL-In a display reminiscent of Porsche's dominance of sportscar
racing in the middle 1980's the Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK of Bernd Schneider and
Klaus Ludwig just drove away from the rest of the field. Finishing almost a
full lap in front of the second place McLaren BMW of Peter Kox and Roberto
Ravaglia the Mercedes team dominated the three hour race in every aspect. 

  Starting in second place behind the pole-sitting McLaren BMW, of Lehto and
Soper, the Mercedes team quickly dispensed the idea of being in second
place. The weather conditions for the race went from dry to wet, back to dry
and finally ended in a drizzle. The weather conditions did not seem to
affect the Mercedes racecar in any way, shape or form. The only time that
the race was really close was during the first thirty minutes of the race
and during the last pit stop/ driver change. 

  The racing behind the top two finishers was where things became
interesting. The Panoz team achieved their best finish of the year by
grabbing third place from the Porsche team of Dalmas and Wollek. The Panoz
and Porsche teams struggled over the third place finish during the last hour
of the race. The Panoz eventually pulled out a 19 second margin

  Rounding out the top five in GT1 was the McLaren BMW of Gounon and
Raphanel two laps down to the Mercedes.

  In the GT2 class Chrylser Viper drivers Philippe Gache and Olivier Beretta
defeated their teammates Justin Bell and Tommy Archer by just eight seconds.
Bell and Archer made a push for the lead with thirty minutes to go but just
could not make up the difference. Porsche drivers Ni Amorim and Uwe Alzen
finished in third place one lap down.

GT1 Finishing Order (Top Five)

Pos.    Driver                           Marque          Laps
#1      Bernd Schneider/Klaus Ludwig    Mercedes CLK      70
#2      Peter Kox/Roberto Ravaglia      McLaren BMW       70(2min 18 seconds)
#3      David Brabham/Perry McCarthy    Panoz             69
#4      Yannick Dalmas/Bob Wollek       Porsche 911       69
#5      J-M Gounon/P-H Raphanel         McLaren BMW       68

GT2 Finishing Order (Top Five)

Pos.    Driver                          Marque           Laps
#1      Phillippe Gache/Olivier Beretta Chrysler Viper    67 (11th over-all)
#2      Justin Bell/Tommy Archer        Chrysler Viper    67 (12th over-all)
#3      Ni Amorim/Uwe Alzen             Porsche 911 GT2   66 (14th over-all)
#4      Cor Euser/Harald Becker         Marcos LM 600     65 (15th over-all)
#5      Wido Roessler/Wolfgang Kaufmann Porsche 911 GT2   64 (17th over-all)

GT1 Championship Standings

Pos.    Driver          Points
#1      Bernd Schneider  62
#2      Lehto/Soper      59
#4      Klaus Ludwig     41
#5      Nannini/Tiemann  34

GT1 Manufacturers Championship

Pos.    Marque                  Points
#1      AMG Mercedes            100
#2      Team BMW Motorsport      85
#3      Gulf Team Davidoff       33
#4      Porsche AG               23

GT2 Championship Standings

Pos.    Driver          Points

#1      Bell             60
#2      Gache/Beretta    56
#4      Hurtgen/Eichmann 55
#6      Amorim           44
#7      Archer           26

GT2 Manufacturer's Championship

Pos.    Marque                  Points
#1      Viper Team ORECA        116
#2      Roock Racing             73
#3      Konrad Motorsports       15
#4      Marcos Racing            13
#5      Krauss Motorsport        11

David Treffer -- The Auto Channel