Despite being eleven hours into the a 12 Hours of Sebring slowed by only four full course cautions the lead battles in four of the five classes in the final hour were separated by less than ten seconds as the final hour began.
Three of those four classes saw the order change in the final 60 minutes.
The odd one out in the quartet was the P1 and overall battle. With both Audi R18 e-tron quattro needing a final pitstop in the final hour Benoit Treluyer held off Tom Kristensen to take victory for the #1 team of he, Marcel Fassler and Oliver Jarvis. Early in the final hour Treluyer defended his lead in traffic – Kristensen leading for a few seconds before Treluyer took the lead back.
The pressure on the Frenchman was removed when Kristensen made his final pitstop with a half hour remaining in the race. Treluyer followed suit ten minutes later, the smaller amount of fuel required by the #1 car helping the lead out to over 25 seconds. Kristensen, whose record tally of Sebring wins remains unchanged, closed into within 12 seconds, but no closer as Treluyer passed beneath the checkered flag and the accompanying fireworks.
However in PC, GT and GTC the leaders changed more meaningfully in the final hour.
David Ostella took the PC lead from Kyle Marcelli through turn seventeen just inside the final 30 minutes, then held off the final challenge once both men had made their final stops of the race. In GT the final hour was a battle between Matteo Malucelli for Risi Competizione and Tommy Milner aboard the surviving Corvette.
Milner was gradually catching Malucelli, making his ALMS debut and taking the final stint to substitute for a pained Gianmaria Bruni. However, the class was decided when Malucelli outbraked himself in the darkness, the #62 bumped across the grass, the loss of time enough for Milner to escape into a two second lead to complete a wild race for the #4 squad that included falling a lap off the pace after technical dramas and collecting a penalty for avoidable contact with the West Racing/AJR Ferrari.
The real drama, seemingly, was reserved for GTC. Damien Faulkner began the final hour leading the class in the #66 TRG Porsche, but with severely faded brakes. Powerless to defend Faulkner – who had missed out on a Rolex 24 podium in the late drama in January – lost the lead to Jeroen Bleekemolen in the Alex Job Racing Porsche (ironically, representing the same team that had stolen the GT class win at Daytona).
Faulkner continued to slip down the order, falling to third behind Spencer Pumpelly after pitting for a final – frustrating – splash of fuel.
Then on the final lap Faulkner slowed to halt, eventually finishing down in fifth place. Bleekemolen, meanwhile, took class win for AJR with teammates Dion von Moltke and Cooper MacNeil.
In the one class not to enter the final hour with a close lead battle Marino Franchitti led home Ryan Hunter-Reay in a 1-2 finish in P2 for Level 5 Motorsports with Greaves Motorsport completing the podium.