Joao Barbosa continues to lead the 2017 Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring at the six hour halfway point, albeit with a much reduced lead over Jordan Taylor after the race’s third caution.
Filipe Albuquerque handed the #5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac over to Barbosa who continued his fellow Portuguese’s good work by building on the gap.
Taylor in the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing maintained a steady second place, hoping to use their superior fuel economy to beat the faster Mustang Sampling Cadillac.
Both Cadillacs continued to pull away from the #85 JDC-Miller Motorsports with its Pro/Am driver line-up continued to put in an impressive performance but Misha Goikhberg is now a lap behind the leading two.
Nick Heidfeld in the #13 Rebellion Racing ORECA‘s charge to regain his two lost laps was halted by alternator problems, all but ending the polesitter’s shot of victory.
Behind him the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac of Dane Cameron continued to be the fastest car on track as it sought to gain back its lost laps to get on terms with the leaders.
The #24 BMW of Nicky Catsburg bought out the third caution when it went straight into the tyres at turn 13 due to brake problems.
In the resultant pitstops, the much delayed #90 Visit Florida Racing Riley car ground to a halt after leaving it’s pitshop leaving it stranded half in the fast lane.
In PC the Daytona winners #38 Performance Tech Motorsports with Patricio O’Ward behind the wheel continue to dominate the class, although only with a minute’s gap to the #8 Starworks Motorsports machine of Garett Grist.
In GTLM, Ford’s domination continued as the #67 of Scott Dixon and the #68 of Stefan Mucke led the field ahead of James Calado in the #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari.
Ford had been 1-2-3 for most of the section, even managing to get its car in number order at one point, but Calado managed to break the Ford Stranglehold during the pitstops.
The caution completely ruined #3 Corvette‘s strategy of trying to under cut the Fords. This forced them to take emergency service and then pit again under caution dropping them from second to seventh.
In GTD the #11 Grasser Racing Lamborghini of Richard Antinucci managed to jump the long-time leading #33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes of Jeroem Bleekemolen during the pitstops, to lead at the halfway mark if only by 0.3 seconds.
Bleekemolen’s team-mate Mario Farnbacher had continued the car’s domination of the category, but problems had struck their team-mates though when the #50 Riley Motorsports of Cooper MacNeil suffered a suspension failure.
MacNeil had to endure a few hairy moments as he tried to drag the car back to the pits, as the Merc swerved into the racing line on several occasions.
In third place, longtime second place man, Connor De Phillippi in the #29 Montaplast-by Land Motorsport Audi, ended up in third but under heavy pressure from the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari of Matteo Cressoni.
Top 3 after 6 Hours
5 Mustang Sampling Racing – Joao Barbosa, Filipe Albuquerque, Christian Fittipaldi
10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta – Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor, Alex Lynn
85 JDC-Miller Motorsports – Chris Miller, Stephen Simpson, Misha Goikhberg
38 Performance Tech Motorsports – James French, Patricio O’Ward, Kyle Masson
8 Starworks Motorsports – Maxwell Hanratty, James Dayson, Sean Rayhall, Garett Grist
26 BAR1 Motorsports – Chapman Ducote,Gustavo Yacaman, Colin Thompson, Marc Drumwright
67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing – Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook, Scott Dixon
68 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing – Stefan Mucke, Billy Johnson, Olivier Pla
62 Risi Competizione – James Calado, Toni Vilander, Giancarlo Fisichella
11 GRT Grasser Racing Team – Richard Antinucci, Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart, Rolf Ineichen
33 Riley Motorsports – Ben Keating, Jeroem Bleekemolen, Mario Farnbacher
29 Montaplast by Land Motorsport – Connor De Phillippi, Christopher Mies, Jules Gounon