Thursday, March 21, 2019

Pla Gaps Field in Second Sebring Practice

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After landing near the bottom of the DPi running order in the weekend’s opening practice, Mazda Team Joest’s prototype duo found enough speed in Thursday’s afternoon session at Sebring International Raceway to occupy two spots in the top five.

While just 0.162 seconds quicker than the lap that put Felipe Nasr and Action Express Racing on top Thursday morning, Olivier Pla’s 1:46.834 lap created a 0.815-second gap between the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P and the Whelen-branded Cadillac DPi-V.R that topped Practice 1.

A minuscule two-thousandths of a second separated third-placed Jordan Taylor from Pipo Derani in second, making it two Cadillac DPis in the top three. Helio Castroneves added and Oliver Jarvis added the top Acura ARX-05 and the second Mazda DPi to the top five, respectively.

The three Cadillacs from JDC-Miller Motorsports and Juncos Racing ended Practice 2 at the bottom of the DPi group on the timesheet.

LMP2 Gap Grows

The gap between the two LMP2 cars on hand for the second IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round of 2019 more than doubled between the first two practice outings at Sebring.

After his co-driver Gabriel Aubry led Practice 1, Matt McMurry set the pace in PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ entry by putting 3.559 seconds between himself and Cameron Cassels in Performance Tech Motorsports’ ORECA 07, again the slower of the two on track.

Porsche Fastest Over Fords Again

The two Porsche GT Team cars have taken turns setting the GT Le Mans pace in the first two Sebring practices, both times keeping Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ford GT duo at bay.

Nick Tandy and the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR were fastest in Practice 2 ahead of Sebastien Bourdais and Ryan Briscoe in the Nos. 66 and 67 Fords, respectively. BMW Team RLL and Corvette Racing make up the bottom half of the category’s running order.

Turner Leads GTD

After six manufacturers were represented in the top six at the end of Practice 1 in GT Daytona, this second session concluded with a series of seven different manufacturers atop the class.

Bill Auberlen was fastest in Turner Motorsport’s BMW M6 GT3 over Lamborghini, Porsche, Lexus, Acura, Mercedes-AMG and Ferrari machinery from the Grasser Racing Team, Pfaff Motorsports, AIM Vasser Sullivan, Meyer Shank Racing, Riley Motorsports and Scuderia Corsa.

Excluding the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 from Precision Performance Motorsports that was more than six seconds off Auberlen’s pace and failed to improve before crashing heavily, the 17-car GTD field lapped the Sebring circuit within the same 2.8 seconds.

All four WeatherTech Championship classes will return to the track from 7:45–9:15 p.m. EDT Thursday for night practice. Friday’s action begins with a one-hour, 25-minute practice session and will include qualifying from 9:55–11 a.m.

Aaron Durant
Aaron Duranthttp://aarondurant.com
As editor-in-chief, Aaron brings a developing design and editorial vision to The Apex every day and co-hosts The Braking Point podcast every week. An avid reader, he enjoys aligning his relentless care for quality with an interest in counterintuitive approaches.

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