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Garcia leads most laps for win in Sebring Masters

Image by Heinz Petzold

Petzold runs at head of pack

Image by Heinz Petzold
Pablo taking the lead and eventual win
Sebring Masters
19 Feb 2012

19 Feb 2012 — Pablo Garcia raced at the front of the field most of all drivers, leading 26 of 42 laps on a run to first place in the Sebring Masters in Round 6 of the GT Masters series.

Garcia swapped leads multiple rounds with Mario Saban in a lengthy and unrelenting fight for the race lead from the beginning, passing each other nine times over a stretch of 24 laps. Garcia spent the majority leading Saban after originally engaging and passing him on the second lap. After losing the spot on lap 28, Garcia got around Saban for the fifth time and into first place on lap 29, and kept it the remaining 13 laps to the conclusion.

Garcia remains in the lead of the standings, increasing the lead over rival Tony Watts to nine points. Garcia has six starts and led 110 of his 217 laps while taking the win three times.

In the 10 career runs taken by Garcia in the Lamborghini R-GT, he has led 78 laps in all and taken the win three times.

Heinz Petzold held the lead for two laps in a run to second place.

After starting first, Petzold dropped to ninth midway through. Petzold wrestled the advantage back and forth with Calin Oltean in a long and tense fight for fourth from the early stages, passing each other five times over a span of 11 laps. Driving the Corvette C5-R, Petzold spent the majority pursuing Oltean after catching him on lap 6. Petzold passed Oltean for the third time and into third place when Oltean retired on lap 39, and controlled it the final few laps to the checkered flag.

Petzold remains in third in the standings, cutting the gap to second's Tony Watts to one point. Petzold has six starts and led 13 of his 218 laps while finishing as high as second.

GT Masters series moves on to Round 7 in a week at Long Beach '79. The series has 39 drivers competing for points in the championship.

Pablo Garcia leads the championship in a tight campaign over Tony Watts, separated by just a handful of finishing positions. The title continues to be challenged by Heinz Petzold, Fernando Cardenas, Mario Saban, Felipe Anzolin, Reinhard Berger, Mattias Norling, and Maciej Bekas as well. The Top 5 places are an open battleground for 39 drivers in the running with three races remaining.

Maciej Bekas won third place.

Bekas swapped leads with Heinz Petzold in a lengthy and unrelenting fight for fourth starting midway through, running within a car length of each other over a stretch of 33 laps. Bekas ran the majority pursuing Petzold after initially engaging him on the fifth lap, coming from as many as four positions back. Driving the Corvette C5-R, Bekas launched an extended challenge at Petzold early in the running, staying within a couple turns behind him and keeping pace over an unbroken run of 18 laps. In the end Bekas settled into fourth through attrition the lap running to the conclusion.

Bekas moves up to ninth in the standings, now tied in points with eighth's Mattias Norling following Norling's fifth-place finish. Bekas has two starts and led five of his 86 laps while finishing as high as second.

Tony Watts won fourth place.

Driving the Maserati MC12, Watts traded positions multiple rounds with John Van Der Geest in a persistent fight for eighth late in the action, passing each other three times over a stretch of nine laps. Watts spent all pursuing Van Der Geest after catching him on lap 32, coming from as many as seven positions back. Watts launched an extended challenge at Van Der Geest late in the action, staying within a lap behind him and gaining ground over an unbroken run of five laps. Watts got around Van Der Geest for the second time and into eighth place when Van Der Geest retired on lap 40, and kept it the final couple laps to the finish.

Watts remains in second in the standings, nine points behind Pablo Garcia. Watts has six starts and led 13 of his 217 laps while finishing as high as second.

1 Pablo Garcia UK-NL Racing 42 1:23:22.456
2 Heinz Petzold Apex Predator Racing 42 1:23:30.045
3 Maciej Bekas Racing for Serbia International 42 1:24:00.686
4 Tony Watts 42 1:24:12.966
5 Mattias Norling SimMadRacers 42 1:24:55.399
6 George Pol UK-NL Racing 41 DNF
7 Calin Oltean 41 DNF
8 John van der Geest Overstep Racing International 41 1:24:11.947
9 Rob Thaeler MNRL Motorsports 41 1:24:36.668
10 Mario Saban 32 DNF
11 Carl Hart 19 DNF

Corvette C5-R
Posted by Heinz Petzold at 10:04 PM on Sun Feb 19 BRST

Spent last night running a few laps thinking i'd found a REALLY good setup on the C5, and i had to be fair, but still not enough to beat Pablo. He was just so quick in the lambo.
Small field turned up for this one, but was a nice race regardless.
quali was interesting, sun shining but wet track.. hmm what tyre choice? I went out on inters first, found that they were pretty horrible, but tried for 2 hotlaps. when i realised i was just going knowhere i came back out with 4mins on the clock soft wets on, they got pretty damn hot so i knew they were still wrong, but they gave me enough grip to finish the only hotlap with time left and got pole! Nice!

Race started well, Mario Saban was infront of pablo for a lap or 2 allowing me to pull away a little, but as soon as Mario made an error on the back straight Pablo pulled me in and sat behind me for a bit until he got a really good chance out the last corner and managed to hold me off all the way till t3 where i was trying to keep it a little too close and on the inside but pablo swung out from the rumblestrip and i touched his rear and car veered off onto the grass. From here Pablo just pulled away lap after lap and i knew i couldnt let him get too far out or i'd not have a chance at pitstops to jump him. I was very close though..2seconds from a 10odd second gap! A little harder and i might have managed a 2nd stint battle again.
Maciej tried no tyre change which i was planning on to jump pablo, but it really didnt work out well i think so glad i took fresh rubber.

Was happy to see tony in 5th as that would mean i recovered 2nd spot on drivers championship by 1 point, but GP got a DQ and tony a 4th, keeping him in 2nd by 1 point. Atleast im back in the fight for 2nd

Grats to all finishers

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