IMSA, LAT Images Jake Galstad

Felipe Nasr leads 12 Hours of Sebring at three-Hour mark

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Round 2 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the 12 Hours of Sebring literally picked up where the series left off after the 24 Hours at Daytona: Racing in the rain in Central Florida.

The yellow and green flags waved over the field as the timer started at 10:42 a.m. ET with Dane Cameron on the pole. Cars circled the course while track drying was under way so that the heat from the cars would help the process.

Racing began in full force at the 40-minute mark with the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest DPI of Tristan Nunez immediately sweeping around the outside of Cameron’s No. 6 Acura Team Penske DPI to take the lead in Turn 1. As Cameron dropped back through the field, Filipe Albuquerque stalked the leader and grabbed the overall lead 45 minutes into the 12-hour endurance race.

In a foreshadowing of the first quarter of the race, Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac DPI kept pressure on as well and grabbed the lead from his teammate Albuquerque five laps later, which he held through the 1-hour mark.

Rain continued to fall as the 1-hour mark went into the books. Struggling in the wet, Helio Castroneves lost a lap to the leader before pitting for fresh rubber and a driver change in the No. 7 Acura Team Penske DPI.

Castroneves made the point that racing in the rain is often about limiting mistakes, and he was happy to turn the wheel over to Ricky Taylor in one piece. Thirty minutes later, Taylor looped the car in Turn 17 and kept it off the wall, but his seat belts came unhooked and he was forced into the pits a few laps later.

At the 3-hour mark, Taylor was still one lap off the pace in ninth.

The No. 31 held the lead at three hours with Felipe Nasr behind the wheel. Up front in LMP2 was Kyle Masson in the No. 38 entry from Performance Tech Motorsports.

Richard Westbrook in the No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford had the GTLM lead, and Lars Kern and the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche paced the GTD class.

The track began to dry at the 2-hour mark, and the leader Derani was the first onto pit road. Switching to dry tires three laps earlier than the field allowed him to extend his lead to nearly 18 seconds over Albuquerque and the rest of the field.

The second yellow of the race waved at the 2-hour, 19-minute mark for an electrical failure on the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest DPI.

Timo Bernhard pulled to the side and needed a tow back to the pits – another brutal setback for the team after problems during the Rolex 24 in January.

Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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