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12H of Sebring: Cadillac get’s 123

Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R #10, Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor, Alex Lynn | Photo IMSA
Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R #10, Ricky Taylor, Jord­an Taylor, Alex Lynn | Pho­to IMSA

By JoaoLamares

The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing/​Konica Min­olta Cadillac DPi V.R, with Ricky Taylor behind the wheel, won the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona, with the No. 5 Action Express Mus­tang Sampling Cadillac DPi V.R fin­ish­ing second. But it wasn’t pretty – with just sev­en minutes left, Taylor nudged the No. 5 out of the way in turn 1, caus­ing the No. 5 to spin.

The top two fin­ish­ers in Saturday’s 65th Annu­al Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring were the same, but Ricky Taylor didn’t need to nudge any­body this time, win­ning with a healthy 13.614-second lead over the No. 5.

The No. 5 Mus­tang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R was fast dur­ing sev­er­al prac­tice ses­sions lead­ing into qual­i­fy­ing, where they qual­i­fied 2nd and led much of the race through the day­light until dark­ness began to fall.

The No. 5 Mus­tang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R would take the lead shortly after Filipe’s stint began by over­tak­ing team­mate, Eric Cur­ran. Filipe con­tin­ued to set the pace as the four-hour mark approached to award Tequila Patrón North Amer­ic­an Endur­ance Cup points, earn­ing the max­im­um five points for lead­ing the first seg­ment of the race.

Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R Action Express Racing #5, Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi, Filipe Albuquerque | Photo IMSA
Mus­tang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R Action Express Racing #5, Joao Barbosa, Chris­ti­an Fit­tip­aldi, Filipe Albuquer­que | Pho­to IMSA

For the next eight hours, the No. 5 Mus­tang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R swapped the lead with the No. 10 Kon­ica Min­olta Cadillac DPi-V.R as the teams cycled through pit stops and driver changes.

Though mul­tiple pit-stops and strategy plays remained, the No. 5 Mus­tang Sampling Cadillac team of Barbosa, Chris­ti­an Fit­tip­aldi and Filipe Albuquer­que fin­ished second at Sebring Int’l Race­way. “I am really proud of the Mus­tang Sampling Cadillac team,” Barbosa said. “It is a great sweep of the podi­um for Cadillac. We missed just a little bit when the con­di­tions changed from day­time to night, but second is a great res­ult. I am very proud of our whole team.

Filipe Albuquer­que, who spent much of his stints either lead­ing or run­ning 2nd, gave thoughts on his even­ing. “We ran a good race and made no real mis­takes,” Albuquer­que said. “We led a lot of the race, but when the track got cool­er, the No. 10 Cadillac just came alive. They had just a little bit more today, but we will work to close the gap at Long Beach.

The defend­ing IMSA Weather­Tech Champs have to won­der when will the bad luck end? For­tu­nately, the Whelen Engin­eer­ing Cadillac DPi-V.R was once again fast and lead­ing until bad luck changed their race, but not their determ­in­a­tion!

Dane Camer­on qual­i­fied 3rd and took the lead just thirty-four minutes into the 12-hour clas­sic after passing the No. 13 Rebel­lion car, fol­low­ing a pass-thru pit pen­alty.

Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R #31 Action Express Racing, Dane Cameron, Eric Curran, Mike Conway | Photo IMSA
Whelen Engin­eer­ing Cadillac DPi-V.R #31 Action Express Racing, Dane Camer­on, Eric Cur­ran, Mike Con­way | Pho­to IMSA

The Whelen Engin­eer­ing Cadillac con­tin­ued to the lead through the first two hours of the event fol­low­ing pit stops and driver change to Eric Cur­ran. At the 2:25 mark, the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac DPi-V.R had con­tact with the No. 22 ESM Pro­to­type.

Eric was at the wheel when he exited Turn 17 and tucked under­neath the No. 22 to pass on the inside when the No. 22 driver turned to go onto pit lane. Cur­ran hit the No. 22 and was stalled in the middle of the track.

Unfor­tu­nately, he had to be towed to the pad­dock, but the team quickly re-fired the Cadillac DPi-V.R 6.2L engine and he rejoined the race. The team then received a stop-and-go-pen­alty for work­ing on the car in pit lane while the pits were closed. The incid­ent com­bined with pen­alty dropped the No.31 Whelen Cadillac to 6th place, 3 laps down.

The Whelen Engin­eer­ing Team would con­tin­ue to fight for pos­i­tions and points. At the 5:30 mark, Mike Con­way would pit for tires, fuel and driver change to Dane Camer­on for his second driv­ing stint. By the 7:00 mark, Dane would give the drive back to Eric Cur­ran for his second driv­ing stint, only 2 laps down. At the 8:20 mark, Eric would run down and pass the No. 85 pro­to­type for third place!

After get­ting as close as one lap down, the Whelen Engin­eer­ing Team’s nev­er give up atti­tude and third place fin­ish allowed for a 1−2−3 Cadillac podi­um sweep.

Eric Cur­ran, No. 31 Whelen Engin­eer­ing Cadillac DPi-V.R: “It is nice to get Cadillac a 1−2−3 here at Sebring,” Cur­ran said. “Obvi­ously the Cadillac has shown good pace and great reli­ab­il­ity early in the sea­son. I got tangled up with the 22 car at the begin­ning and unfor­tu­nately lost a bunch of laps. We fought back and got with­in a couple of laps at the end and to get on the podi­um. Our luck is going to get bet­ter on the Whelen side. We are look­ing to be really strong at Long Beach.

#85, ORECA, P, Misha Goikhberg, Chris Miller, Stephen Simpson | Photo Jake Galstad/LAT Images
#85, ORECA, P, Mis­ha Goikh­berg, Chris Miller, Steph­en Simpson | Pho­to Jake Galstad/​LAT Images

Fin­ish­ing fourth was the No. 85 JDC-Miller ORECA LM P2 entry, driv­en by Chris Miller, Steph­en Simpson and Mis­ha Goikh­berg. That team moved up from the Pro­to­type Chal­lenge class this year, and while they fin­ished four laps behind the win­ner, they are def­in­itely con­tenders.

The No. 55 Mazda DPi roun­ded out the top five. It was a really dis­ap­point­ing race for the Mazda team – their second car, the No. 70, brought out the first of the six full-course cau­tion flags early on as driver Joel Miller lost the car’s brakes and drove hard into the tire wall in turn 17. That car fin­ished eighth.

The No. 2 Tequila Pat­ron ESM Nis­san DPi, driv­en by Scott Sharp, Ryan Dalziel and Pipo Derani, also ran into issues. The No. 2 team not only won Sebring last year, they won the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona. But the car battled tur­bochar­ger prob­lems even before race day, and ended up 11th.

#13 Rebellion Racing Oreca LMP2, Sebastien Buemi, Nick Heidfeld, Neel Jani | Photo IMSA
#13 Rebel­lion Racing Ore­ca LMP2, Sebas­tien Buemi, Nick Heid­feld, Neel Jani | Pho­to IMSA

Also wish­ing they had a do-over was the No. 13 Rebel­lion Racing ORECA LM P2 of Sebas­tien Buemi, Nick Heid­feld and Neel Jani. On Fri­day, Jani qual­i­fied on the pole, but they ended up ninth in the race after bat­tling a vari­ety of mech­an­ic­al prob­lems all day.

All pro­vi­sion­al res­ults can be found there

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