Sebring 12h: Hr 1 – Misfortune for Rebellion hands lead to Cadillac

The 65th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is underway, and the polesitting Oreca has already been relegated through no fault of driver Neel Jani.

Sebring 12h: Hr 1 – Misfortune for Rebellion hands lead to Cadillac

Prototype

Jani led from the start, chased by the Action Express Racing Cadillacs of Christian Fittipaldi and Dane Cameron. 

A left-rear puncture for Jonathan Bomarito in the #55 Mazda meant he rejoined just in time to make life difficult for Jani, Fittipaldi and Cameron. Jani took advantage and disappeared five seconds up the road, although the AXR Cadillacs closed back in.

After the first round of pitstops, Cameron was in front, while Rebellion Racing suffered a faulty rear airjack, which meant one of the Oreca’s tires didn’t get changed. Even worse, Jani had to serve a drive-through penalty for the fire extinguisher operator being wrongly attired during the pitstop.

Behind, Jose Gutierrez’s PR1/Mathiasen Motorsport Ligier struggled to hold off Ricky Taylor’s Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, with Brendon Hartley’s ESM Nissan running sixth, a couple of seconds behind. Taylor got frustrated behind Gutierrez as Hartley closed in, but then Hartley handed over to Ed Brown.

Following the first-round of stops and the drive-through for Jani, Taylor completed a Cadillac 1-2-3, with Stephen Simpson fourth in the JDC/Miller Motorsports, Renger Van der Zande in the Visit Florida Racing Multimatic Riley, and Jani with his compromised tire selection in sixth.

Pipo Derani stopped the ESM Nissan Ligier #2 and the engine cover came off after just 15mins. Although he rejoined, he dropped to 40th overall and as the first hour ended, he was classified 12 laps down.

GT Le Mans

Polesitter Ryan Briscoe (Ford GT) couldn’t get his car started, obliging him to reset the car’s electronic and therefore serve a drive-through penalty soon after the start.

That left Dirk Muller leading the class for Ford, chased by Kevin Estre’s #912 Porsche and Antonio Garcia’s #3 Corvette, but 10mins in, Garcia moved ahead of the RSR in a fine move down the inside into Turn 1.

Stefan Mucke tried an overambitious move on Estre after half an hour, and had to spin his Ford in order to avoid punting the Porsche.

That allowed the second Porsche, piloted by Dirk Werner, into fourth and Giancarlo Fisichella’s Risi Ferrari 488 into fifth. Mucke resumed in sixth but then resumed battle .

Following the pitstops, an out-of-sequence Briscoe led in the #67 Ford, ahead of teammate Muller in the #66 car, Garcia in the Corvette, and the two Porsches split by Toni Vilander who had taken over the Ferrari.

GT Daytona

The polesitting SunEnergy1 Racing  Tristan Vautier had to serve a pitlane drive-through penalty for a fuel leak on the SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes AMG GT3, leaving Connor De Philippi’s Land-Motorsport Audi R8 to lead ahead of Corey Lewis in the #16 Change Racing Lamborghini Huracan.

Scott Pruett ran third in the #14 Lexus RC F until Mirko Bortolotti’s Grasser Racing Lambo moved past to relegate the sportscar legend.

GTD stops were just getting underway at the end of the first hour.

In Protoype Challenge, Gustavo Yacaman led James French, Garett Grist and Buddy Rice.

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