As the checkered flag waved over the start/finish line for the 65th running of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, the No.5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R team was happy with the second place finish, but wanted one position better. The No.5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R was fast during several practice sessions leading into qualifying, where they qualified 2nd and led much of the race through the daylight until darkness began to fall.
Christian Fittipaldi took the green flag at 10:40 a.m. ET on Saturday in No.5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R prototype from second place for the 12-hour classic. Fittipaldi would remain in the top three during his opening two-hour stint before giving way to Filipe Albuquerque.
After getting out of the No.5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R following first stint, Fittipaldi was pleased with the early performance of the team. "It is still very early in the race," Fittipaldi said. "No one is really risking too much and we are taking care of each other. So far, mechanically the Cadillac has been flawless. I am really happy with the cars performance and the pit stops. We've made three of them and improved the car each time."
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R would take the lead shortly after Albuquerque's stint began by overtaking teammate, Whelen Racing's Eric Curran. Albuquerque continued to set the pace as the four-hour mark approached to award Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup points, earning the maximum five points for leading the first segment of the race.
For the next eight hours, the No.5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R swapped the lead with the No.10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R as the teams cycled through pit stops and driver changes.
At the 10:55 mark, a full-course yellow would allow the Mustang Sampling Team to close back in on the leader setting up a final one hour sprint to the finish.
Though multiple pit-stops and strategy plays remained, the No.5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac team of Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Filipe Albuquerque finished second at Sebring Int'l Raceway.
"I am really proud of the Mustang Sampling Cadillac team," Barbosa said. "It is a great sweep of the podium for Cadillac. We missed just a little bit when the conditions changed from daytime to night, but second is a great result. I am very proud of our whole team."
Filipe Albuquerque, who spent much of his stints either leading or running 2nd, gave thoughts on his evening. "We ran a good race and made no real mistakes," Albuquerque said. "We led a lot of the race, but when the track got cooler, the No. 10 Cadillac just came alive. They had just a little bit more today, but we will work to close the gap at Long Beach."
Next up the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship heads west to the streets of Long Beach for the Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach April 7-8.
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