Sebring 12 Hours – Hour 11 Update

Panoz GT2 in the nightJust under two hours remained when Tom Kristensen returned to the pit for another scheduled stop. The Dane handed over the car to Allan McNish and saw Rockenfeller and Bourdais pass him whilst they stayed out.

In GT2 Marc Lieb kept on the pace in an attempt to close the gap to the #21 Panoz. Having had its collision with the Robertson Racing in the very early stages of the race the car was said to be damaged without any chance to repair it, but so far the car is more than holding up.

David Brabham returned to the pit after encountering technical problems on his Acura, differential problems being cited as the reason the car went behind the wall.

Just before 9 pm Sébastien Bourdais set the fastest lap of the race, a 1:43.274. On the next lap he came into the pit where he handed over the car to Franck Montagny. With the Peugeot 908 in the pit Allan McNish blasted through and was in Turn 3 already when the Peugeot got back out.

On his outlap Montagny made a mistake at the hairpin and took the Peugeot 908 through the gravel. After a little jump the car was back on the track, but it did cost the Peugeot car some time. As the Audi and Peugeot passed the finish line again the gap was just over 40 seconds.

McNish stayed on the throttle, but Montagny did not sit still either. Only two laps after going wide the Peugeot was already lapping similar lap times to McNish. Far behind the two LMP1 cars the battle for third in GT2 went wide open. Coming on to the finish straight Marc Lieb was all over the Panoz of Ian James, but James did not give up that easily.

Just in front of the two fighting GT2 cars one of the backmarkers spun, but fortunately it did not affect the battle. For laps the Panoz and Porsche were behind each with Lieb trying to pass James. As they came onto the straight at 9.18 pm Lieb and James were side by side. All of a sudden there was contact and the Lizards Porsche was thrown into the wall damaging the front. While the Panoz managed to get going without any serious, the Porsche suffered severe damage to the front and the left rear wheel. Lieb returned to the pit slowly, where the team started to assess the damage. Minutes later it returned to the track.

Meanwhile McNish was getting away from Montagny, the gap had grown to 58 seconds and continued to grow. Ian James came in for a pit stop, swapped places with Dominik Farnbacher and the Panoz went out again quickly, retaining its third place.

Just at the end of the eleventh hour McNish came in for his pit stop, for fuel and tyres. Montagny passed the Audi and took the lead.