Sebring 12h: Cadillac dominance under threat in fourth practice

A challenge to the Cadillacs is brewing at Sebring, as five cars broke the 1min50sec barrier in the final practice session before qualifying and Christian Fittipaldi’s pacesetting Action Express Racing Cadillac had an edge of just 0.118sec.

Sebring 12h: Cadillac dominance under threat in fourth practice
#5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi: Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi, Filipe Albuquerque
#24 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM: John Edwards, Martin Tomczyk, Nicky Catsburg
Stefan Mücke, Ford Performance Chip Ganassi Racing
#24 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM: John Edwards, Martin Tomczyk, Nicky Catsburg
#62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE: Toni Vilander, Giancarlo Fisichella, James Calado
#28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R: Daniel Morad, Michael de Quesada, Michael Christensen, Spencer
#13 Rebellion Racing ORECA 07: Neel Jani, Sébastien Buemi, Nick Heidfeld
Pipo Derani, Tequila Patron ESM Nissan
#96 Turner Motozrsport BMW M6 GT3: Jens Klingmann, Justin Marks, Jesse Krohn
#90 Visit Florida Racing Multimatic Riley LMP2: Marc Goossens, Renger van der Zande, René Rast
#26 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09: Marc Drumwright, Chapman Ducote, Gustavo Yacaman, Colin Thompson

It was Fittipaldi’s fulltime teammate Joao Barbosa who first threatened the 1min50sec mark, falling just 0.033sec short on his third lap, with Jonathan Bomarito’s #55 Mazda DPi-RT24P going second quick but then pulling in with a gearbox issue. Then Barbosa set a stunning 1min49.456sec, fastest lap of the weekend so far, with Marino Franchitti moving the #70 Mazda up into P2, albeit 1.1sec off top spot.

Brendon Hartley’s efforts in the #22 ESM Nissan-Ligier earned him P2 just 0.32sec behind Barbosa with his ninth lap, and Eric Curran in the #31 AXR Cadillac did a highly commendable job to get within half a second of Barbosa.

Then Porsche’s World Endurance champion Neel Jani shoved the Rebellion Oreca into top spot…. but his position barely lasted a minute, as Fittipaldi took over the #5 AXR Caddy to grab a 1min49.211sec lap.

Pipo Derani nailed a 1min49.5 to go fourth, a couple of tenths quicker than ESM teammate Hartley and then jumped up to third behind Jani with a 49.4. Derani had just set the fastest first sector of the weekend when the checkered flag flew and so he pitted, ultimate potential unrealized. Hartley’s best was still good enough for fifth, while the P6 and P7 cars – Renger Van der Zande’s Visit Florida Racing Riley Multimatic and Misha Goikhberg’s JDC-Miller Oreca – were also within a second of Fittipaldi’s best.

In GT Le Mans, the Porsche vs. Ford battle continued, and at the halfway point of the session, Dirk Werner sat at the top of the times in the #911 Porsche 911 RSR with a 1min56.931sec, chased by the three Ford GTs of Dirk Muller, Ryan Briscoe and Stefan Mucke.

However, Muller then moved to the top and then this two-marque fight was interrupted by a great lap from Nicky Catsburg in the #24 RLL BMW M6 which put him second fastest, a couple of tenths off Muller’s top spot. Kevin Estre grabbed third in the #912 Porsche to eclipse teammate Werner by just a tenth of a second, with Briscoe and Mucke completing the top six.

Tommy Milner and Giancarlo Fisichella, in the #4 Corvette C7.R and the #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 respectively, were seventh and eighth, 0.7sec off the class leaders.

Michael Christensen’s Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R proved the Audis are beatable in the GT Daytona class, finishing the session a tenth-and-a-half ahead of Andrew Davis in the #57 Stevenson Motorsports R8 LMS, and two-tenths clear of Connor De Phillippi in the Land-Motorsport R8.

But as in GTLM, BMW showed pace, with Jens Klingmann taking fourth in the #96 Turner Motorsports BMW M6, as Mirko Bortolotti’s #11 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan was fifth, half a second off Christensen’s best. Two Mercedes AMG GT3s were next up – Mario Farnbacher in the #33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG entry and Tristan Vautier in the SunEnergy1 Racing car.

The Michael Shank Racing-run Acura NSXs were in the wars, however. The session was halted less than 10mins in when Mark Kvamme’s #20 PC car collided with Ozz Negri’s #86 Acura which sustained too much suspension damage to continue the session. Then, toward the end of the session, the #93 NSX was seen trailing damage down pitroad not long after Katherine Legge had been setting encouraging times, within a second of GTD top spot.

In Prototype Challenge, Gustavo Yacaman was again top for BAR1 Motorsports, a full second ahead of Pato O’Ward in the Performance Tech machine and 1.7sec up on Sean Rayhall’s best for Starworks.

Qualifying begins with GTD at 1pm ET.

Sebring FP4 times

1 brazil  Christian Fittipaldi 
portugal  Filipe Albuquerque 
portugal  Joao Barbosa 
P Cadillac DPi 24 1'49.211  
2 germany  Nick Heidfeld 
switzerland  Sébastien Buemi 
switzerland  Neel Jani 
P ORECA 24 1'49.329 0.118
3 brazil  Pipo Derani 
united_states  Scott Sharp 
united_kingdom  Ryan Dalziel 
P Nissan DPi 20 1'49.405 0.194
4 united_kingdom  Mike Conway 
united_states  Dane Cameron 
united_states  Eric Curran 
P Cadillac DPi 23 1'49.547 0.336
5 brazil  Bruno Senna 
new_zealand  Brendon Hartley 
united_states  Ed Brown 
united_states  Johannes van Overbeek
P Nissan DPi 24 1'49.774 0.563
6 germany  René Rast 
belgium  Marc Goossens 
netherlands  Renger van der Zande 
P Multimatic/Riley 24 1'50.137 0.926
7 canada  Mikhail Goikhberg 
united_states  Chris Miller 
south_africa  Stephen Simpson 
P ORECA 24 1'50.154 0.943
8 united_states  Jordan Taylor 
united_states  Ricky Taylor 
united_kingdom  Alex Lynn 
P Cadillac DPi 8 1'50.399 1.188
9 united_kingdom  Tom Kimber-Smith 
mexico  Jose Gutierrez 
united_states  Mike Guasch 
P Ligier 23 1'50.601 1.390
10 united_states  Tom Long 
united_states  Joel Miller 
united_kingdom  Marino Franchitti 
P Mazda DPi 20 1'50.622 1.411
11 united_states  Spencer Pigot 
united_states  Jonathan Bomarito 
united_states  Tristan Nunez 
P Mazda DPi 20 1'50.872 1.661
12 colombia  Gustavo Yacaman 
united_states  Colin Thompson 
united_states  Marc Drumwright 
united_states  Chapman Ducote 
PC ORECA FLM09 22 1'53.340 4.129
13 united_states  James French 
united_states  Kyle Masson 
united_states  Patricio O'Ward 
PC ORECA FLM09 23 1'54.366 5.155
14 united_states  Sean Rayhall 
canada  Garett Grist 
united_states  Max Hanratty 
canada  James Dayson 
PC ORECA FLM09 23 1'55.189 5.978
15 france  Sébastien Bourdais 
united_states  Joey Hand 
germany  Dirk Müller 
GTLM Ford GT 21 1'56.556 7.345
16 united_states  John Edwards 
netherlands  Nicky Catsburg 
germany  Martin Tomczyk 
GTLM BMW M6 GTLM 20 1'56.782 7.571
17 austria  Richard Lietz 
france  Kevin Estre 
belgium  Laurens Vanthoor 
GTLM Porsche 911 RSR 22 1'56.825 7.614
18 france  Patrick Pilet 
france  Frédéric Makowiecki 
germany  Dirk Werner 
GTLM Porsche 911 RSR 22 1'56.931 7.720
19 australia  Ryan Briscoe 
new_zealand  Scott Dixon 
united_kingdom  Richard Westbrook 
GTLM Ford GT 21 1'57.038 7.827
20 germany  Stefan Mücke 
france  Olivier Pla 
united_states  Billy Johnson 
GTLM Ford GT 23 1'57.155 7.944
21 switzerland  Marcel Fassler 
united_kingdom  Oliver Gavin 
united_states  Tommy Milner 
GTLM Corvette C7.R 23 1'57.262 8.051
22 italy  Giancarlo Fisichella 
united_kingdom  James Calado 
finland  Toni Vilander 
GTLM Ferrari 488 GTE 21 1'57.283 8.072
23 denmark  Jan Magnussen 
spain  Antonio Garcia 
germany  Mike Rockenfeller 
GTLM Corvette C7.R 22 1'57.666 8.455
24 united_states  Bill Auberlen 
canada  Kuno Wittmer 
united_kingdom  Alexander Sims 
GTLM BMW M6 GTLM 21 1'57.960 8.749
25 denmark  Michael Christensen 
canada  Daniel Morad 
united_states  Spencer Pumpelly 
united_states  Michael de Quesada 
GTD Porsche 911 GT3 R 23 2'00.491 11.280
26 united_states  Lawson Aschenbach 
united_states  Andrew Davis 
united_states  Matt Bell 
GTD Audi R8 LMS GT3 24 2'00.646 11.435
27 united_states  Connor de Phillippi 
france  Jules Gounon 
germany  Christopher Mies 
GTD Audi R8 LMS GT3 22 2'00.689 11.478
28 united_states  Justin Marks 
germany  Jens Klingmann 
finland  Jesse Krohn 
GTD BMW M6 GT3 20 2'00.912 11.701
29 italy  Richard Antinucci 
switzerland  Rolf Ineichen 
italy  Mirko Bortolotti 
germany  Christian Engelhart 
GTD Lamborghini Huracan GT3 22 2'00.996 11.785
30 netherlands  Jeroen Bleekemolen 
united_states  Ben Keating 
germany  Mario Farnbacher 
GTD Mercedes-AMG GT3 19 2'01.074 11.863
31 united_states  Boris Said 
australia  Kenny Habul 
france  Tristan Vautier 
GTD Mercedes-AMG GT3 15 2'01.159 11.948
32 italy  Matteo Cressoni 
denmark  Christina Nielsen 
italy  Alessandro Balzan 
GTD Ferrari 488 GT3 23 2'01.267 12.056
33 united_states  Andy Lally 
united_kingdom  Katherine Legge 
canada  Mark Wilkins 
GTD Acura NSX GT3 15 2'01.360 12.149
34 south_africa  Dion von Moltke 
united_states  Bryan Sellers 
united_states  Madison Snow 
GTD Lamborghini Huracan GT3 21 2'01.396 12.185
35 united_states  Cooper MacNeil 
united_states  Gunnar Jeannette 
new_zealand  Shane van Gisbergen 
GTD Mercedes-AMG GT3 19 2'01.397 12.186
36 germany  Jörg Bergmeister 
united_states  Patrick Lindsey 
united_states  Matt McMurry 
GTD Porsche 911 GT3 R 17 2'01.440 12.229
37 italy  Paolo Ruberti 
united_states  Lawrence DeGeorge 
monaco  Cedric Sbirrazzuoli 
GTD Lamborghini Huracan GT3 23 2'01.479 12.268
38 united_states  Austin Cindric 
united_kingdom  Jack Hawksworth 
united_states  Robert Alon 
GTD Lexus RCF GT3 19 2'01.496 12.285
39 united_states  Townsend Bell 
united_states  Frankie Montecalvo 
united_states  Bill Sweedler 
GTD Audi R8 LMS GT3 21 2'01.571 12.360
40 united_states  Scott Pruett 
united_kingdom  Ian James 
united_states  Sage Karam 
GTD Lexus RCF GT3 18 2'01.585 12.374
41 united_states  Brett Sandberg 
united_states  Corey Lewis 
netherlands  Jeroen Mul 
GTD Lamborghini Huracan GT3 23 2'01.600 12.389
42 sweden  Niclas Jönsson 
united_states  Jon Bennett 
united_states  Colin Braun 
GTD Porsche 911 GT3 R 18 2'01.822 12.611
43 france  Emmanuel Collard 
italy  Fabio Babini 
italy  Emanuele Busnelli 
italy  Michele Beretta 
GTD Lamborghini Huracan GT3 23 2'02.142 12.931
44 united_states  Brandon Gdovic 
united_states  Anthony Massari 
canada  Emmanuel Anassis 
GTD Lamborghini Huracan GT3 22 2'03.789 14.578
45 united_states  Don Yount 
united_states  Buddy Rice 
canada  Daniel Burkett 
PC ORECA FLM09 2 2'06.797 17.586
46 united_states  Jeff Segal 
brazil  Oswaldo Negri Jr. 
united_states  Tom Dyer 
GTD Acura NSX GT3 2 2'07.744 18.533


Sebring 12h: Conway sends Action Express Cadillac to the top
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