12H Sebring 3 Hour Update: Rain stops play


Heavy rain affected the start of the 2016 12 Hours of Sebring with the race being called to a halt just before the three hour mark.

Standing water and lightning made conditions too treacherous for racing, with the rain set to persist for the next half an hour or so.

At the red flag, Christian Fittipaldi led the race in the #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, ahead of team-mate Dane Cameron in the #31 machine.

Fittipaldi inherited the lead midway through the second hour when the first spots of rain began to appear on the 3.7 mile circuit. The Brazilian driver stayed out on slick tyres while others opted for wets and consolidated his advantage by remaining ahead following the car’s second stop.

Jordan Taylor sat third after three hours for Wayne Taylor Racing, with Marc Goossens in fourth for Visit Florida Racing and Oswaldo Negri Jr completing the top five in the Michael Shank Ligier JS P2.

Michael Shank Racing led the early stages thanks to a strong initial stint by polesitter Olivier Pla, who had to hold off an aggressive Pipo Derani in the #2 ESM Ligier. Derani dropped to third on the opening lap after Cameron managed to squeeze through, but the young Brazilian was able to gain an extra two laps on his first set of tyres.

The first caution of the race came on 57 minutes after Bill Sweedler spun the #11 Change Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 and parked it on the side of the track. Despite getting the car back out the team was dealt a terminal blow near the end of the second hour when Townsend Bell slid into the outside wall at turn 17.

This resulted in a lengthier caution which saw the ESM Ligier drop down the order as Ed Brown took over for a one lap stint. Further stoppages were caused by incidents involving the #68 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 and the #66 Ford GT before the race was finally brought to a complete stop after three hours.

In GTLM, BMW Team RLL led the race early on from the front of the grid but a stop go penalty for both M6s set the team back. When the rain arrived the Porsche 991s came to the fore, with Nick Tandy overtaking Tommy Milner’s Corvette for the lead just before the red flag.

Prototype Challenge was led by Stephen Simpson in the JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca FLM09, while in GT Daytona the #23 Alex Job Racing Porsche of Mario Farnbacher held the lead after the #33 Dodge Viper encountered drivetrain problems.