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Castroneves Tops Opening Practice at Sebring

Helio Castroneves sets pace in opening practice for Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Helio Castroneves led the way in opening practice for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Thursday.

The Brazilian reeled off a quick lap of 1:48.237 in his No. 7 Team Penske Acura ARX-05, edging out the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPi-V.R of Tristan Vautier by 0.150 seconds.

Renger van der Zande was third quickest in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac, followed by the No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi of Olivier Pla in fourth.

The No. 55 Team Joest Mazda RT24-P completed the top-five, showing improved pace in the hands of Jonathan Bomarito.

An accident by Chris Miller in the No. 99 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson brought out a red flag early in the 60-minute session.

Damage was sustained to the GAINSCO-sponsored prototype although it is expected to return for second practice later this afternoon.

The No. 66 Ford GT of Dirk Mueller led the way in GT Le Mans, ahead of Toni Vilander’s No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE an the Rolex 24 at Daytona class-winning No. 67 Ford.

Michael Shank Racing, meanwhile, made it two Acuras on top of the time charts in the session, thanks to a 2:00.337 lap in the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 of Lawson Aschenbach.

Aside from Miller’s accident in Turn 1, no other major incidents were reported.

Practice 2 gets underway at 3:10 p.m. ET.

RESULTS: Practice 1

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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