Seb Priaulx survived a restart with under five minutes remaining to win the debut race of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America for Kelly-Moss Road and Race at Sebring International Raceway.
The second-generation racer jumped out to a massive advantage over Kay van Berlo on the final restart and was unchallenged in the two lap sprint to the checkered flag, holding off his teammate by 1.238 seconds.
Priaulx got a strong start from pole at the initial drop of the green while Leh Keen dropped back after starting on the outside of the front row. Van Berlo was jumped up to second from the third spot on the grid and quickly tracked down Priaulx, setting up the duel that would characterize the race.
The two ran nose to tail for the first 25 minutes but van Berlo never could find a way by before the race’s lone caution broke up their fight.
A spin by TJ Fischer on the run to Turn 3 after contact with a competitor while battling for position inside the top ten caused his car significant damage and resulted in the a full course yellow to retrieve his stranded car and set up the two-lap dash to the checkered flag.
Under that yellow yellow, Bill Smith appeared to suffer a tire puncture forcing him to pit lane in the final minutes.
After the restart, Keen brought his 311RS Motorsport entry home in third, while Parker Thompson, and Dylan Murry completed the top five, both passing Riley Dickinson for position in the final two laps.
Alan Metni picked up the win in the 992 Pro-Am class with a last lap pass of Efrin Castro. Metni had led the class for the bulk of the race but lost it on the penultimate lap. The Texan fought his way back to the front and held off Castro by 0.201 seconds.
Kurt Hunt won out in a late fight for the 991 Pro-Am class for previous-generation equipment, edging Matt Halcome to the stripe for the class win by 0.121 seconds. Grady Willingham was third in the category, less than a second behind the class winners.
There were several minor incidents that did not bring out the full course yellow, including a spin from fifth-place starter Max Root in the early going. The car apparently suffered some damage in the incident as Root was unable to continue.
Race 2 of the weekend is scheduled for 10:10 a.m. local time with live coverage on IMSA.tv and NBC Sports Gold Trackpass with commentary from IMSA Radio.
RESULTS: Race 1