2014 12 Hours of Sebring: Hour 12 Update

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2014 12 Hours of Sebring (Courtesy of IMSA)

Marino Franchitti made the best of a final full course caution period in the final hour of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, being able to inherit the lead in the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford, then streak away on the restart.

Just as in the final restart at Daytona slower traffic between the overall lead and second place played a part, Ryan Dalziel having to deal with GT cars while Franchitti was able to open up a lead that peaked at over seven seconds.

Instead of challenging for the lead Dalziel, anchoring the #1 Extreme Speed Motorsports team, had to contend with Sebastien Bourdais in a battle for second.

Before the caution – brought out when the Marsh Racing Corvette DP stopped at the side of the track – Dalziel had been leading from Bourdais, but pitstops under the yellow flag had dropped them to second and fourth, though Bourdais was back into third almost immediately after the green flag as he passed Oliver Pla in the OAK Morgan-Nissan.

After looking likely to lose second Dalziel was able to start to move away from Bourdais. Now it was he who started to take time out of Franchitti ahead, bringing the gap down to under three seconds before it began to grow again as the leaders caught slow traffic in the final minutes of the race.

Colin Braun and Bruno Junqueira spent much of the final hour nose to tail in a fight for the victory in PC. Though he remained close until very final corners the Brazilian was never able to find an opportunity big enough to stage a passing attempt allowing Braun and the CORE Autosport team of Jon Bennett and James Gue to add 12 Hours of Sebring trophies to the Rolex watches from Daytona.

Joerg Bergmeister had – arguably – the calmest close of the race of any of the class leaders, having a seven second gap to the #93 SRT Motorsports in second place whose driver had to contend with Joey Hand in the #55 BMW Z4  trying to take a second runners-up spot to start the team’s season.

Magnus Racing gave Porsche the GT class sweep, beating the AIM Autosport Ferrari to the line with the #23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing completing the class podium, unable to pass the Ferrari in the 20 minutes of racing that ended the 62nd edition of the Sebring endurance challenge.

2014 12 Hours of Sebring class standings after 12 hours

#01 – Chip Ganassi Racing – Pruett/Rojas/Franchitti
#1 – Extreme Speed Motorsports – Brabham/Sharp/Dalziel
#5 – Action Express Racing – Barbosa/Fittipaldi/Bourdais

#54 – CORE Autosports – Bennett/Braun/Gue
#09 – RSR Racing – Ende/Junqueira/Heinemeier Hansson
#8 – Starworks Motorsports – van der Zande/Bird/Fuentes/Cheng

#912 – Porsche North America – Bergmeister/Long/Christensen
#93 – SRT Motorsports – Bell/Bomarito/Wittmer
#55 – BMW Team RLL – Auberlen/Priaulx/Hand

#44 – Magnus Racing – Potter/Lally/Seefried
#555 – AIM Autosport – Sweedler/Bell/Mediani/Segal
#23 – Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing – James/Farnbacher/Riberas

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