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Ganassi’s Sebring Hopes Up in Smoke With Three Hours Left

Chip Ganassi Racing retires from Sebring lead with three hours remaining…

Image: IMSA

Chip Ganassi Racing’s bid for a second consecutive victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring has come to an end, with the car catching fire from the lead of the race with three hours of racing remaining.

Sebastien Bourdais was running in first aboard the No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R when the Frenchman brought the car into the pit lane with a fire at the rear of the car, stopping at the pit stall engulfed in smoke.

Bourdais had captured the lead after completing a pass on the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac of Pipo Derani on a restart in Hour 9, overtaking the Brazilian out of Sunset Bend.

Ganassi’s capitulation promoted the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Acura ARX-06 to the lead, with Ricky Taylor 17 seconds ahead of Meyer Shank Racing’s Colin Braun in an Acura 1-2.

It marks a full recovery for Taylor from an earlier drive-through penalty for a pit lane speeding infringement in the previous hour, which had seen him drop to the rear of the GTP class.

Felipe Nasr runs third aboard the No. 7 Penske Porsche 963 ahead of the No. 25 BMW M Hybrid V8 of Sheldon van der Linde and the No. 6 Porsche of Mathieu Jaminet.

The No. 6 car is fighting back from a bizarre incident where Jaminet’s co-driver Dane Cameron suffered rear damage when the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P320 Nissan of Robert Mau ran into the back of the Porsche during a pass-around under caution.

The No. 31 Action Express Cadillac is in sixth with Alexander Sims at the wheel, while the No. 24 BMW was retired from the race in the seventh hour after Augusto Farfus ground to a halt on track.

In GTD Pro, Pfaff Motorsports took control of proceedings in the class thanks to a well-timed pitstop.

Both the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R and No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 made stops moments before a caution was called following a collision in a battle for the GTD lead between Wright Motorsports’ Zach Robichon and Winward Racing’s Philip Ellis.

As a result, the two cars vaulted to the class lead with Laurens Vanthoor out front aboard the Porsche, although Ben Barnicoat has since dropped to third behind the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Maro Engel.

The clash between Robichon and Ellis, which resulted in a retirement for the No. 57 Winward Mercedes, has allowed the No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes of Kenton Koch to capture the class lead in GTD.

Koch executed a pass on the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 piloted by Bryan Sellers at the restart and now leads the class from the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Sellers runs in third place.

In LMP2, No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR Oreca 07 Gibson of Ben Hanley leads from Tower Motorsports, while the No. 30 Jr III Racing Ligier JS P320 Nissan holds the class lead in LMP3.

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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