The No. 77 Mazda RT24-P DPi has dropped out of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring lead battle after an apparent electrical fire.
Timo Bernhard was running sixth in the Joest-run Mazda, which led the early stages of the race in the hands of Tristan Nunez, when the incident occurred with just over nine and a half hours to go.
The 2008 Sebring winner was spotted with his left-side door ajar before parking by the exit of the FIA World Endurance Championship pit lane on the Ullman Straight.
Bernhard then ran down the straight to pick up a fire extinguisher in an attempt to put out the concealed flames, while the incident triggered a Full Course Caution period which resulted in a spate of pit stops throughout the field.
Joest’s sole remaining No. 55 DPi is still in contention with Harry Tincknell running in the top five at the time of the identical No. 77 machine’s setback.
After 57 laps, Pipo Derani led the way in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, ahead of Filipe Albuquerque in the team’s sister No. 5 car and the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac with Tristan Vautier at the controls.