Whelen Engineering Racing drives away with the win at Sebring; AIM VASSER SULLIVAN win in GTD
GREAT BATTLES IN GTLM BETWEEN THE TWO CORVETTE AFTER PORSCHE HITS DOUBLE TROUBLE
Pipo Derani and teammate Felipe Nasr, who was back after missing the Daytona race a couple of weeks ago having been diagnose with COVID-19, literally drove away from their competitors right from the green flag. Derani kept his cool in the first couple of laps as Wayne Taylor Racing’s Renger van der Zande was putting pressure on him.
Once he pulled away and built a comfortable lead, Derani chiseled through traffic and built an even bigger lead. Felipe Nasr took over from Derani and simply kept driving away, although there was one close call as Nasr caught up on GTD traffic and had to react really quickly to avoid contact as cars were approaching turn 3.
The Whelen Engineering team completed perfect pit stops and Nasr crossed the line with just over 36 seconds ahead of the Wayne Taylor Racing #10 Konica Minolta car of Renger van der Zande/Ryan Briscoe. Third place went to the #5 JDC Miller Motorsports Mustang Sampling of Joao Barbosa/Sebastien Bourdais. The pair had started in eight place.
In LMP2, five cars took the green flag but the battle was between #81 DragonSpeed USA and #52 PR1 Motorsports. In the end, it is the DragonSpeed of Henrik Hedman and Gustavo Menezes(who we usually see driving the WEC Rebellion LMP1) winning for the second time this year. They crossed the line with just over a 12 seconds lead.
Canadian drivers Cameron Cassels (#38 Performance Tech Motorsports) and John Farano (#8 Starworks) finished third and fifth respectively.
The GTLM class had a great fight taking place initially. Although there were only six cars in class, both the Corvette and Porsche were within seconds of eachother with BMW not able to follow the pace. As a full course yellow brought the field behind the safety car, the pitlane became very busy at once with GTLM and GTD cars pitting at the same time. Upon leaving their pit stalls, but Corvette nearly collided and as they drove by the two Porsche, also leaving their pit stall, the #911 and #912 Porsche made contact ripping off the front left fender and bumper of the #912.
Initially, only the #912 came back to the pits needing some repair which cost them quite a bit of time. Upon returning to green, the #911 RSR, at speed, came around the fast corner 1 and the rear right tire punctured and a quick reaction form driver Frederic Makowiecki kept the car form hitting the outside wall. He then slowly made his way back to the pits but was out of contention following that.
Bruno Spengler and teammate Connor de Philippi recovered somewhat and finished the race in fourth position. De Philippi was battling with a charging Earl Bamber in the #912 Porsche to keep third place toward the end of the race. At last the Porsche had a better pace and made a decisive pass on the #25 BMW M8 GTE driver.
AIM VASSER SULLIVAN had locked the front row with the #12 ahead of sister car #14. After some heated battles throughout the race, it was the #14 that crossed the line ahead of a very competitive #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Cooper MacNeil/Tony Vilander by just over 1.5 seconds. Third place went to #96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 of Robby Foley/Bill Auberlen less than 10 seconds away for the #14 Lexus RC F GT3.
Compass Racing’s McLaren 720S GT3 at the hand of Corey Fergus/Paul Holton finished a lap behind in sixth place.
The next race on the schedule is to take place in a couple of weeks at Road America on July 31-Aug 2 for another 2h40 minutes sprint event.
See full results here.
Images: Patrice Marchessault / PMstills Photography