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RESULTS: Racecentre Sebring 1.2 Hour Enduro 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The classic 12 hours of Sebring. An old airfield in Florida was to play host to multiclass GT and prototype racing to test Racecentre drivers over 1.2 hours. A full house turned up to Sydney from all sorts of disciplines including; our V8 supercar and mixed leagues, as well as some new faces! Hot lap specialists, David Lord and Michael Palladino arrived first to try and come to grips with the non-elevated/non-cambered racing surface. Special guest - Michael Johnson (American Continental Tires driver) showed some of his prior Sebring and GT experience to the virtual track by picking up the simulation driving very quickly in practice. 

Qualify:

 

Drivers found themselves split evenly between the Prototype and GT class, and were sent out for 20minutes qualifying. Michael Palladino looked confident after putting his car on provisional pole early in the session, but David Lord cheekily pipped him in the end. Rookie, Nik Valge, topped GT’s like he was in a class of his own.

Grid Position

Driver

Class/Car

1

David Lord

P- Audi R10 TDI

2

Michael Palladino

P -Audi R10 TDI

3

Jason Brooks

P- Audi R10 TDI

4

Shane Gilfeather

P- Peugeot 908 HDI

5

Nik Valge

GT – Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT

6

Michael Johnson

GT – Aston Martin DBR9

7

Scott Durham

GT – Aston Martin DBR9

8

Dan Maher

GT – Aston Martin DBR9


Race:

After a quick break, the guys made final decisions on tyre compound selection and set out on a formation lap whilst nerves started to creep in. The lights went out to start the 72 minute enduro, and Jason Brooks made an absolute cracker of a start! Unfortunately Jason, as well as Michael Johnson and Scott Durham had early spins, and would need to settle down to remain in contention. No problems finding rhythm from Palladino and Valge who storm into their respective class leads. Shane and Scott also capitalised from the over-eagerness of their rivals.


David looking to regain some lost time hunted down Shane’s Peugeot applying some intense pressure. A shaky Shane, losses the rear whilst David spins off in the grass behind him – Was there contact?! Desperation as they fight to re-join the track first, David just managing the feat. Meanwhile Jason was pushing hard to make up for his lost time … A little too hard, and spins.
At the 30 minute mark, the American, who had recovered from 8th to 6th, pits first for new tyres (or tires?). Nik follows suit a lap latter, having built enough lead to retain his position! Jason pits first for the prototype guys the 40 minute mark. 5 minutes later, and 4 more cars head down a busy pit lane with only Palladino remaining out.
Jason’s misfortune continues, losing his front splitter to a tyre barrier. It’s a long lap to nurse a limping car back to the pits before even repairing the damage, as Scott would also find out! After letting a prototype through, he got on the throttle just a little bit too early. The closing speeds of the prototypes could easily take the GT boys by surprise and required them to constantly watch their mirrors. David and Shane once again found each other on track and provided a great show, ducking and weaving through lap traffic. It was Shanes turn to apply the pressure, but he spun.
Finally, after 65 minutes Palladino pits. Impressed with his tyre wear, he bolts on some 4 new mediums instead for the final run home. Whilst David was busy setting down the fastest laps (1:46.338), this would by a massive gap to catch.
In the dying laps, David would attempt to avoid a spinning GT car. Damaged ensued requiring a pitstop … receiving a stop’n’go … requiring another pit stop. Shane happy enough to take 2nd position then! Palladino finds he has now lapped the entire field! He crosses the line at 72 minutes, 45 seconds and with 40 laps to his name. Nik’s Lamborghini takes the GT win over Johnson, holding position from start to finish!      

 

Position

Prototype

GT1

1

Michael Palladino

Nik Valge

2

Shane Gilfeather

Michael Johnson

3

David Lord

Scott Durham

4

Jason Brooks

Dan Maher

Well done to all the drivers for providing some entertaining racing, and lasting the distance! Once again Racecentre would like to thank Michael Johnson for visiting and providing some entertaining stories.


By Matthew Anderson.

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