We’re halfway through the 66th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, and 2016 winner Pipo Derani continues to lead in the No. 22 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi. Derani took the lead at the 4:30 mark, and has paced all but one of the ensuing 41 circuits.
Running under caution for the fifth time after the No. 14 3GT Lexus of Dominik Baumann collected a sponsor sign which blocked his visability, Derani led Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Team Penske Acura ARX-05 and Spencer Pigot in the No. 55 Team Joest Mazda RT-24-P.
Connor De Phillippi led GTLM in the Team RLL BMW M8 GTLM, followed by Toni Vilander in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE and Nick Tandy in the No. 911 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR.
In GTD, Luca Stolz rebounded from a penalty to lead in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG, followed by Corey Lewis in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracon GT3 and Gunnar Jeannette in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3.
The cars running 1-2 in the GTD class midway through the hour were both penalized for pit violations. Ben Keating was leading the class in the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG, followed by David Heinemeier-Hansson in the No. 15 Lexus. Stolz and Sean Rayhall took over the respective cars, but were called back to road to serve penalties.
It proved to be a double-whammy for the 3GT Racing Lexus team. Moments after Rayhall served his penalty and fell to eighth, Baumann went off course in the team’s fourth-place No. 14 and hit the sign.
Baumann eventually shed the sign – but not before the caution came out. His Lexus sustained a buckled hood in the incident.
Earlier in the hour, the No. 29 Audi of Christopher Mies – a front-runner in GTD earlier in the race – was penalized for an improperly manned fire extinguisher.