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Braun: “Super Unfortunate” End After Strong Recovery Drive

Colin Braun on thwarted CrowdStrike Racing by APR Sebring comeback effort…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

CrowdStrike Racing by APR’s Colin Braun felt the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring was just “one of those days” after a comeback drive from two laps down was cut short in the race’s final laps.

After early race drama for the No. 04 Oreca 07 Gibson, Braun sat third in class during the race’s 12th and final full course caution, in the car he shared with George Kurtz and Toby Sowery.

Braun, however, on the restart made contact with the rear of Felipe Fraga’s No. 74 Riley entry in Turn 17, spinning the CrowdStrike car and dropping them to ninth.

“We caught our way right back into the mix there and it’s a super unfortunate way to have it end,” Braun told Sportscar365.

“I wasn’t even really trying to pass the 74. I just was on the inside having clean air and he just slowed and pinched me and kept coming and hit the nose of the car a little bit and ‘whoop’ you spin.

“It’s such an easy place to have a tiny bit of contact and cause the spin.

“It’d be one thing if you were like trying to dive-bomb and make some crazy move, but it felt like I was just trying to kind of stay out of the way and just kind of got collected in that. It’s definitely a tough day.”

Prior to the spin, Braun felt the team lost ground on the final round of LMP2 pit stops under yellow after entering the pits in second behind the class-leader at the time.

“Unfortunately, we lost a spot with the last yellow,” he explained.

“The way that that fell when we were doing our pit cycle, we went from second to third and it kind of mixed the order up. So, in the end that was a bit of a bugger.

“But we were still sitting in a pretty good spot. Definitely one of those days.”

CrowdStrike’s comeback drive began early in the around-the-clock Florida enduro after Kurtz suffered a puncture in the opening minutes, dropping him to the rear of the field.

Further trouble emerged when the car was handed a drive-through penalty for having too many crew over the wall when servicing the No. 04’s punctured tire. Kurtz would rejoin two laps down.

With Kurtz having begun the comeback drive, he handed the car over to Sowrey, who charged to get the car back on to the lead lap in the fifth hour.

Two hours later, with Sowrey and Braun sharing the driving duties, the Algarve Pro Racing-run entry had climbed into the top-five.

“I think we just kept our heads down,” Braun said.

“We knew that we could have some good strategy, get our laps back with the safety cars.

“Once we got out laps back we kind of fight through it. And, these guys had good pit stops and good strategy and we just kind of inched our way back up to the front.

“We had good pace and we could fight our way back into it. So I’m, proud of that fact.”

Jonathan Grace is the host of Sportscar365's Double Stint Podcast and a contributor to the web site's IMSA-sanctioned race coverage.

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