Sebring 4H: Report: Kobayashi snatches lead at race’s half-way point; drama for United Autosports in LMP2
Photo: WEC

Sebring 4H: Report: Kobayashi snatches lead at race’s half-way point; drama for United Autosports in LMP2

Below are the main headlines after four hours of race action at the Sebring International Raceway.

Hypercar: Leader – Kamui Kobayashi 

  • Toyota Gazoo Racing continue to run 1-2 after four hours of racing with the No.7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid Hypercar driven by Kamui Kobayashi heading the No.8 car by just 1.6 seconds. 
  • Kobayashi sat in a comfortable second as the pair of Toyota Hybrid Hypercars continue to control the race at the midway point. 
  • But Hartley pit-stops just as a Full Course Yellow was deployed meaning he had to complete an extra splash stop before the pit lane then closed, effectively completing an extra stop. This allows the No.7 to claim track position in the lead. 
  • Ferrari AF Corse surge back in to contention as the No.50 Ferrari 499P driven by Miguel Molina moves in to third position. 
  • Epic battle plays out between Ferrari, Porsche and Cadillac for the final podium position with exciting racing playing out throughout the third and fourth hours. 
  • James Calado made an audacious pass on Kevin Estre in the No.6 Porsche Penske on the third hour mark but the No.51 Ferrari 499P drops down to fifth as it continues to race out of fuel sequence to rest of field. 
  • Calado then goes off track momentarily as he struggles for grip as fifth hour arrives. 
  • No.6 Porsche Penske of Estre places fourth and holds off the Earl Bamber driven Cadillac V-Series.R. 
  • Estre then homes in on the third placed Ferrari of Molina and a titanic battle ensues with the French ace completing a bold overtake on Molina. 
  • No.5 Porsche Penske runs seventh after losing time with a drive through penalty given for not reducing speed in time for a full course yellow period. 
  • Glickenhaus’ 007 Hypercar retires from the race in the fourth hour after Romain Dumas stops on track after a suspected electrical issue. 
  • Floyd Vanwall runs eighth, surviving contact from the No.9 Peugeot 9X8 when battling for position as Esteban Guerrieri and Mikkel Jensen collide. Both cars continue with Jensen placed in ninth position behind the Vanwall. 
  • Peugeot TotalEnergies No. 94 car continues to run but stops again with problems relating to its battery and is consigned to the pit box for the majority of the fourth hour. 

LMP2: Leader – David Beckmann  

  • Joshua Pierson initially consolidated lead in LMP2 for the No.23 United Autosports car but disaster strikes when the car stops on track in the fourth hour
  • Retirement follows shortly after giving the lead of the LMP2 class to the No.63 Prema Oreca-Gibson driven by Doriane Pin. 
  • Pin impresses after a strong triple stint and hands car over to Mirko Bortolotti  
  • She heads the second United Autosports car driven by WEC debutant Frederick Lubin before the final stops in the first half of the race. 
  • At that point the No.48 Jota car with David Beckmann at the wheel takes over in the lead but has completed one fewer stop than opponents 
  • No.36 Alpine ELF entry with Matthieu Vaxiviere in cockpit places second  
  • No.31 Team WRT Oreca-Gibson runs third as Sean Gelael gets second stint in the cockpit of the Belgian entered car. 
  • Bortolotti in the Prema entry runs in fourth position. 
  • Vector Sports drop to rear of the field after succession of difficulties triggered by water getting into its ECU. Seat discomfort for WEC rookie Matthias Kaiser and a pit-lane speeding violation adds to challenges for British entered team. 

LMGTE Am: Leader – Nicolas Varrone 

  • Iron Dames lead much of the third hour but a rare mistake from Rahel Frey on exit of Turn 1 sees the Porsche 911 RSR 19 lose rear bodywork necessitating a lengthy pit stop. 
  • Incident handed lead to the No.33 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R as Nicolas Varrone takes over from the triple stinting Ben Keating 
  • No.77 Dempsey Proton Porsche 911 RSR climbs the order to take second place as Julien Andlauer starts to make inroads on the leader. 
  • No.777 D’Station Aston Martin driven by Casper Stevenson runs third making it three manufacturers in the top three positions. 
  • Northwest AMR Aston Martin drops out of contention at the front as Paul Dalla Lana suffers a puncture and drops down to 12th place in the LMGTE am category. 

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