Sebastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon were left disappointed by Chip Ganassi Racing’s retirement in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring after leading the most laps of all GTP class contenders.
Bourdais, Dixon and Renger van der Zande ran a strong race in the No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R, leading a total of 120 laps before capitulating in the ninth hour with a fuel leak that saw the Frenchman bring the car into the pits with visible flames emerging from the rear of the car.
The failure occurred 20 laps after Bourdais had regained the lead by passing the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac of Pipo Derani out of Sunset Bend.
At the time, Bourdais completed what had looked like a turn of fortunes for Ganassi after it had plummeted to the rear of the class field following a double stint on Michelin tires for Van der Zande that had seen the Dutchman get overtaken by several rivals in quick succession.
“It’s obviously pretty disappointing for everybody,” Bourdais said.
“The guys did a great job. A couple of incidents that kind of put us out of sequence and then we paid the price with the double stints on tires.
“Renger did a heck of a job hanging onto the car because it was well over two stints on the tires and not easy.
“And a typical safety car reset the field. We had a great restart from last to ninth and we worked out way to the lead with a great pit stop by the guys.
“The car was quick. Cadillac seems to have something that works pretty well at Sebring, so that’s really encouraging.
“I think we made some great progress from Daytona in performance, so that’s encouraging for the rest of the season after finishing on the podium but needing more pace at Daytona.
“It’s great to see the program heading in the right direction and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac are working very hard to make progress.”
Dixon, for his part, praised Ganassi’s effort after losing out on victory at Sebring for another year.
The decorated Kiwi is yet to win the Florida endurance classic, recording a best finish of fourth overall in 2015 and scoring the same result in two consecutive years in GTLM (2017 and 2018).
“It was quite the race,” Dixon said. “The car was really fast and I felt like everybody on the team did a tremendous job.
“We had some ups and downs, but ultimately, we were top-three most of the race and led a good majority of it.
“Just bummed that it ended the way it did, and we didn’t win the race. It’s one that’s eluded me, and it would have been great to take this one.
“But we had great speed, great teamwork and everybody did a hell of a job.”