Sebring Hour 9: Mazda back on top

Sebring Hour 9: Mazda back on top


Sebring Hour 9: Mazda back on top


Jonathan Bomarito took over the lead of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with three hours, five minutes remaining shortly after sunset Saturday at Sebring International Raceway.

Pitting off sequence, Bomarito held a 52.662s lead as the endurance classic reached the nine-hour mark in the No. 55 Team Joest Mazda RT-24-P.

Mike Conway ran second in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, followed by Nicolas Lapierre in the No. 22 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi, Matt McMurray in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac, Alex Brundle in the No. 32 United Autosports Ligier JSP217 and Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac.

GTLM is also anybody’s race with the top five cars within 10 seconds. Frederic Makowiecki led in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, followed by James Calado in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE, and Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R.

GTD has Lawson Aschenbach leading in the No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 – which started the race at the back of the pack – followed by Madison Snow in the No. 48 Lamborghini, Trent Hindman in the No. 865 Acura and Jeroen Bleekemolen in the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG.

Hour nine began with green-flag pit stops which returned the off-sequence No. 55 (driven by Harry Ticknell) to the lead, giving him a 49-second advantage over Conway and Lapierre.

However, the lead was short-lived.

GTLM leader Gianmaria Bruni went wide at the exit of Turn 13, shedding most of the rear bodywork on the No. 912 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR. That brought out the ninth caution, which allowed Bruni to have the bodywork replaced under the yellow.

Ticknell pitted under yellow, turning the car over to Bomarito in fifth place. That put Conway in the lead ahead of Lapierre, Tristan Vautier in the No. 90 entry and Phil Hanson in the No. 32 United Autosports Ligier, while allowing the sixth-place No. 10 driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay to get back on the lead lap.

Lapierre then slowly began to challenge the lead Cadillac, and moved to his rear wing by the eight-hour, 40-minute mark as the sun began to set. At that point, though, Conway picked up the pace to retain the lead – and Lapierre fell back when he caught lapped traffic.

Lapierre pitted on lap 250, remaining at the wheel at eight hours, 48 minutes. Vautier pitted on the following lap, turning the No. 90 Cadillac over to McMurray.