Race to the Finish
Race to the Finish
Less than three hours remain in the 12 Hours of Sebring and now the changes come into play. The cars will have to battle darkness, cooler temperatures and traffic in the time period when things usually shift.
In P2, they have. The Highcroft Racing HPD ARX 01-c led the first eight hours flag-to-flag, but lost nearly 20 minutes in the pits (12 laps) with an electrical wiring issue in the cockpit. Simon Pagenaud said he hoped the car would hold together for the balance of the race, and David Brabham has taken over.
Taking the lead on persistence is the Cytosport Porsche RS Spyder, a car which won this race overall in 2008 with Roger Penske’s team. The car also has won its class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans the last two seasons and with Sascha Maassen aboard, the team is primed to take this race with a six-lap lead. The Porsche trailed by the same amount to the HPD car.
“Everything has been okay, and no issues so far as we have run our own pace,” said Maassen’s co-driver Klaus Graf, who just finished his double stint in the car. “But we cannot be too conservative the rest of the way.”
The Peugeots still lead overall, after running a different strategy. The No. 07 908 HDi FAP has taken the lead from the No. 08, now with Alexander Wurz aboard. The Porsche Spyder paces P2, the Risi Ferrari controls GT2, and the No. 55 Level 5 Oreca leads LMPC.
Not all was rosy for either of those two manufacturers since the last update. Joerg Bergmeister in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche suffered a double blow first when a loose tire and wheel contacted his left rear, causing some cosmetic damage to the bodywork and hitting near the tire. Additionally, the team could not work on the stationary car as the pits remained closed for four laps. Bergmeister could be forgiven if he wanted to sing, “You picked a fine time to hit me, loose wheel.”
The Risi teammates also had a slight incident into turn 13, Tracy Krohn contacting Gianmaria Bruni and Bruni going off the road. But there wasn’t any damage sustained. On the leading Risi’s last pit stop, the team measured the brake pads but did not change them. Rahal Letterman Racing’s BMW M3s run second and third after a trouble-free race, really the only ones to avoid the pitfalls that have taken a lot of GT cars out of contention.
The latest car to hit trouble is the No. 01 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari. Team owner and driver Scott Sharp’s car was ablaze, as it appeared the brakes caught fire, but pulled to a stop at turn 17. Fire marshals were on the scene immediately and Sharp got out of the car. This brought out the fifth full course caution of the race.
In the race to be the fastest, cleanest car, the Peugeots still lead the prototype category of the MICHELIN® GREEN X® CHALLENGE through nine hours, running Shell GTL diesel fuel. In GT, the Flying Lizard Porsches are still 1-2 but the order has been reversed. The No. 45 entry has taken over from the sister No. 44. The Porsches run on E85. All results are unofficial.