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Third-Placed SMP BR1 Crashes Out at Quarter-Distance

No. 17 SMP crash brings out the safety car as 1000 Miles of Sebring hits quarter distance…

Photo: FIA WEC

The third-placed SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 AER has crashed out of the 1000 Miles of Sebring shortly before the 67-lap quarter-distance mark.

Egor Orudzhev overstepped his exit from the Turn 1 left-hander and slid the car into the tire barriers on the right-hand side.

The Russian driver had built up a 20-second lead over Nathanael Berthon in the fourth-placed No. 3 Rebellion Racing R-13 Gibson during the second driver stint after his co-driver Stephane Sarrazin had fended Gustavo Menezes in the early stages.

Orudzhev was pictured walking away from the car after the accident, which promotes the No. 3 Rebellion into third and the No. 10 DragonSpeed BR1 Gibson into fourth.

SMP Racing’s No. 17 car also found trouble in the opening 250 miles when its right-rear tire delaminated and became caught on the surrounding bodywork.

The ensuing Full Course Yellow and Safety Car period resulted in a flurry of pit stops which included a service for race leader Fernando Alonso in the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid.

Alonso maintained the 10-second lead that Sebastien Buemi built up over the sister No. 7 Toyota, which Kamui Kobayashi also brought into the pits, in the opening hour of racing, however this was undone when the Safety Car was scrambled.

GTE-Pro was led by the No. 67 Ford GT at quarter-distance after Andy Priaulx built up a 20-second lead over the close-knit field.

At the time of the safety car, Alexander Sims and Antonio Felix da Costa were second and third for BMW Team MTEK, ahead of Richard Lietz in the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR.

Jackie Chan DC Racing’s No. 38 Oreca 07 Gibson had its 1-minute lead eradicated by the safety car, while Team Project 1 led the two Dempsey-Proton entries in a Porsche 1-2-3 at the top of GTE-Am.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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