It makes sense that those drivers with the most experience would perform the best at any race. But nobody expected this.
From the first hour to the last of the 45th annual 12 Hours of Sebring, the Team Dyson No.
16 Riley & Scott MK III Ford and the pole-sitting Team Scandia Ferrari 333 SP battled for the lead.
Neither of the World Sports Cars was out of the top three at the end of any hour and one of them led every hour from the sixth onward.
For two teams with six Sebring victories between them, it merely was a question of which type of experience would win out _ old or new.
On this night it proved to be new experience and the team atmosphere as Team Scandia, led by 1995 winners Andrew Evans and Fermin Velez, held off the Dyson team for the checkered flag.
For Evans, Velez and Stefan Johansson, the 1984 winner, it was Sebring victory No. 2. For Yannick Dalmas, who put the car on the pole Wednesday, it was his first.
According to at least one Team Dyson driver, the fact that the race was decided between those two cars boiled down to the fact they had been there before.
"Very important. Especially on a night like tonight where there is so much traffic," Team Dyson driver Andy Wallace said. "It's very easy to get hit, as a couple of cars have found out already tonight."
The race seemed set for a three-car shootout but the other top-running Ferrari, driven by Antonio Hermann, ran into traffic while in third, one lap down.
The accident occurred about 6:15 p.m., just as the sun was beginning to dip below the tire barriers at the west end of the circuit.
Hermann was negotiating through Turn 14 when the No. 42 GTS-3 Porsche 911 slammed into the side of his Ferrari.
The Team Momo Ferrari 333 SP fishtailed off the track and plowed into the three-deep tire barriers. The Porsche spun and settled on the track with severe left side damage.
Neither car was able to return to the track.
For the Ferrari, it was more than the end of the race. Team Momo owner Gianpiero Moretti was planning to ship it to Italy today in preparation for the 1,000-kilometer race at Monza.
The race was slowed by nine caution flags totaling three hours, including a red flag that stopped the race for more than an hour.
In the GTS-1 class, the No. 11 Oldsmobile Aurora driven by Jack Baldwin, George Robinson and Irv Hoerr had an eventful second hour before finally blowing rest of the class away.
It was during that hour when the Aurora lost its hood in between Turns 16 and 17, bringing out a full-course caution while workers cleaned up. After the yellows subsided, the Aurora overtook the No. 01 Porsche 911 Turbo and never looked back.
The Porsches got their revenge in the GTS-2 class, though, as the No. 56 Porsche 911 overtook the No. 61 Porsche in the ninth hour.
The GTS-3 was won by Bill Auberlen, Tom Hessert, Javier Quiros, and Boris Said in a BMW M3.