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Corvette Doubles Up, Claims GTLM Win in Sebring

Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fassler go back-to-back…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

Corvette Racing has doubled up at Sebring and also in the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with the No. 4 Corvette C7.R claiming top class honors in GT Le Mans in Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Tommy Milner took the No. 4 Corvette to its second consecutive class win, and the team’s second at Sebring, holding off the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM of Dirk Werner by 4.006 seconds at the end of the 12-hour marathon.

Milner and co-drivers Oliver Gavin and Marcel Fassler also teamed to win January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, in what was the closest finish in class history in that event.

Saturday’s win at Sebring, however, was a little more routine.

The Pratt & Miller squad qualified fifth and sixth, led by the No. 3 car of Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen, and Mike Rockenfeller.

Both Corvettes slipped down the running order when heavy rains pelted the track in the early hours, but each made steady progress as the track began to dry out.

The No. 3 car was taken out of contention when Kevin Estre in the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR collided with the Corvette entering Turn 1 in the eighth hour.

Despite Estre’s race-ending crash, the sister No. 912 Porsche managed to complete the class podium in third, with Earl Bamber finishing five seconds back.

Davide Rigon, Toni Vilander, and Giancarlo Fisichella piloted the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE to fourth in GTLM, with the No. 67 Ford GT in fifth, after fading in the late stages.

Remarkably, five different manufacturers finished within the top-five overall, and all finishing on the lead lap.

Alessandro Balzan in the pole-sitting No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 slipped past Jens Klingmann’s No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 for the win in GT Daytona.

The move came in the final 10 minutes to give the new turbocharged Ferrari its first win in international competition.

Balzan accomplished the feat with co-drivers Christina Nielsen and Jeff Segal. Nielsen becomes the first female class winner at Sebring since Liz Halliday in 2006.

The late-race pass denied Klingmann and co-drivers Ashley Freiberg and Bret Curtis from victory but gave the Turner squad its first podium finish with the new car.

Rolex 24 class winners Andy Lally, John Potter, and Marco Seefried brought the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS to third in class.

Mario Farnbacher took the No. 23 The Heart of Racing Porsche 911 GT3-R to fourth, with the sister No. 22 WeatherTech-backed entry completing the top-five in class.

The outcome of the GTD class was impacted by a number of late-race penalties.

It included a penalty for the No. 98 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 of Richie Stanaway, which was forced to serve a drive-through with 90 minutes remaining and knocked them out of the lead.

Another contender, the No. 16 Change Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3, served a stop-and-hold plus 4-minute and six-second penalty for an improper wave-by while under a yellow.

Corey Lewis had built up nearly a one lap lead prior to serving the penalty.

RESULTS: Twelve Hours of Sebring

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is a pit reporter for SRO America's TV coverage as well as for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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