Sebring 12 Hour 6: Derani leads, Mazda crashes at half-distance

Image by Jake Galstad/LAT

Sebring 12 Hour 6: Derani leads, Mazda crashes at half-distance


Sebring 12 Hour 6: Derani leads, Mazda crashes at half-distance


Jonathan Bomarito slid off course at the 5h50m mark in Turn 13 to bring the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring under the caution for the third time.

Bomarito, driving the No. 55 Mazda Team Joest RT-24P, was battling Pipo Derani’s No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R for the lead. Bomarito led a lap and was running second at the time under yellow. Once pushed out of the tires, the Mazda went back underway with and was serviced in the pits, losing two laps before Harry Tincknell returned the car to the race.

Light rain had just begun to fall prior to the incident.

At the halfway point under caution, Derani leads No. 10 Renger van der Zande, No. 5 Joao Barbosa and No. 84 Stephen Simpson as Cadillacs hold the top four positions.

Chip Ganassi Ford GTs run 1-2 in GTLM, with Scott Dixon (No. 67) leading Joey Hand (No. 66). Scott Hargrove in the No. 9 Pfaff Porsche led GTD when the caution waved, followed by the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG of Felipe Fraga and the No. 11 Lamborghini of Rik Breukers.

Starting under yellow due to rain and standing water, the race was been relatively incident free since the green flag waved at the 21-minute mark. Prior to Bomarito’s incident, there was only one additional full-course caution, at the 2h19m mark when Timo Bernhard pulled to the side of the back straight with an electrical fire that eliminated the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT-24P.

That Mazda led the first full lap under green with Tristan Nunez. The two Action Express Racing Cadillacs have led every lap since then, with the exception of Lap 95 at the 3h40m mark when Misha Goikhberg put the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac out front for a lap before pitting, and Bomarito leading Lap 158.

Brave move at the start of green flag running from Mazda’s Nunez. Image by Michael Levitt/LAT.

Two major contending teams fell back during the rainy opening two hours and have not been a factor: Both the Acura Team Penske and Porsche GT Team — pole winners of the respective DPi and GTLM classes — had both of their cars fall off the lead lap and have yet to get back into contention. However, the ongoing caution for the Bomarito incident and resulting wave-by may work in their favor, with the No. 911 Porsche regaining the lead lap.

Only one contender in each class is out of the race or has spent time behind the wall. In addition to the No. 77 Mazda, the No. 4 Corvette lost 11 laps in GTLM; the No. 14 Lexus lost 30 laps in GTD after contact with the team car; and the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA is 20 laps back in LMP2. Additionally, the No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac spent time in the paddock and is 21 laps back.

The No. 77 Mazda is ready to return to the race after spending four hours in the paddock for repairs.