Pipo Derani overcomes early fall for 4th win at Sebring


Pipo Derani won the 12 Hours of Sebring for a fourth time on Saturday night as Action Express Racing inherited the win after a crash between the leaders with less than 20 minutes remaining.

The No. 31 Cadillac started from pole but hopped through the GTP field in a 12-hour race at Sebring International Raceway.

Action Express endurance driver Jack Aitken was fourth when Wayne Taylor Racing crashed with both Porsche Penske Motorsports competitors. Filipe Albuquerque in an Acura for WTR tried to squeeze Mathieu Jaminet inside for the lead, but Jaminet had to swerve deep to avoid lapped traffic and a touch with Albuquerque knocked the Acura off the track.

Albuquerque sped through a grassy corner and returned to the race surface, only to slam straight into Jaminet. It caused a multi-car accident, collecting Felipe Nasr third in the second Penske-Porsche.

Aitken, a British racing driver and reserve driver in Formula 1, completed victory for Action Express in his second career IMSA sportscar race.

“Of course it was quite tricky at the end. There’s a lot going on,” said Aitken. “We struggled a lot with the tires at the end and that’s not how you want to win the race, but we were there when it was needed and kept it clean.”

Derani, who took pole for the race in the Cadillac V-Series.R, was happy to claim his fourth win after crashing early in the race. He also sympathized with the leaders, who found themselves in a three-car battle in the closing minutes of the race until their crash at the end of the race.

“I’m sorry for the guys who crashed, they drove a great race, but you have to be a bit lucky in motorsport,” said the Brazilian. “We had a flawless race at the beginning after the incident, we recovered well, so it’s just fantastic to be number four here.”

Second went to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in a BMW M Hybrid V8 with Connor de Phillippi, Nick Yelloly and Sheldon Van Der Linde.

There was so much attrition in the top GTP class that third overall went to Tower Motorsports entrant, which included IndyCar star Scott McLaughlin in only his second IMSA sportscar race.

The Tower team came back to win after Kyffin Simpson, a development driver at IndyCar, fell earlier in the race. 63-year-old John Farano is the third driver in the squad.

“Young bloke Kyffin drove well, so did John, but our team really put us on the right track to get our car back together after our little one went off,” McLaughlin said. “Now that we’re on the winning track, we’re going to let him off the hook.”

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