Tequila Patron ESM scored its second Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring victory in the last three years, with a controlling late-race drive by Pipo Derani in Saturday’s action-packed enduro.
The Brazilian took his No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi to a 12.427-second win over the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Renger van der Zande, who was unable to match Derani’s pace in the night.
The race, which featured 11 full course cautions, ran green for the final 1 hour and 13 minutes.
It marked the team, Derani and co-driver Johannes van Overbeek’s second Sebring win in the last three years and also the second career for Nico Lapierre, who claimed overall honors in 2011 in a Team ORECA Peugeot 908.
Van der Zande nursed his Cadillac DPi home in second, after multiple top-offs for water, ahead of the No. 31 Action Express Racing entry of Felipe Nasr, which also battled overheating issues at stages during the race.
A late fuel-only stop for the No. 32 United Autosports Ligier JS P217 Gibson of Paul Di Resta dropped the Anglo-American team to a 5th place finish overall, promoting Romain Dumas fourth, and the highest-placed LMP2 car in the No. 54 CORE autosport Oreca 07 Gibson.
Mazda, which enjoyed its most competitive race yet in Prototype competition, faced late-race misfortune yet again, with a battery issue derailing Harry Tincknell’s race in the final hour.
The Englishman struggled to re-fire the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P in the final round of pit stops with 41 minutes to go, losing a lap and dropping from 2nd to 6th.
It came after an impressive race-leading run for the Mazda Team Joest operation.
Mazda’s No. 77 entry came home 8th after a brake change early, finishing behind the No. 99 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca due to a late-race battery change.
The No. 85 JDC-Miller Oreca was ninth, ahead of the No. 5 Action Express Cadillac DPi, which came home 16th overall after losing more than 20 minutes in the 8th hour.
Joao Barbosa collided with the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca of James French in Turn 17, sending the Rolex 24 at Daytona-winning entry behind the wall for extensive left-front repairs.
A violent crash for Tristan Vautier, also in the final corner but at night, knocked the pole-sitting No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Cadillac DPi out with less than two hours to go.
Both of the Team Penske Acura ARX-05s also failed to finish after showing impressive pace early.
Ricky Taylor dropped out just past the halfway mark with a sudden loss of oil pressure, while the No. 6 Acura of Juan Pablo Montoya lost drive less than one hour later.
Montoya was tagged by Vautier that sent the Colombian into a spin moments before crawling to a halt on track.
ESM’s No. 2 Nissan DPi, meanwhile, was the race’s first retirement with gearbox failure, also following contact with Vautier.