The 61st Annual 12 Hours of Sebring race got off to an exciting start with a 42-car field. The No. 30 MOMO NGT Porsche 911 GTC entry of starting driver Sean Edwards, along with Henrique Cisneros and Marco Seefried took the green flag from the third GTC class position on the grid. The No. 31 MOMO NGT Porsche of starting driver Kuba Giermaziak and co-drivers Carlos Gomez and Mario Farnbacher began the historic race from the tenth GTC position.
At the six-hour mark, it has been a smooth race for the two-car team. Single stints where driven by most of the drivers and NGT Team Owner Ramez Wahab oversaw the pitting of both teams, usually simultaneously through the first four hours
After six hours the No. 30 entry was leading the GTC class and the No. 30 MOMO Porsche had just pitted from the second class position.
Kuba Giermaziak, driver No. 31 MOMO NGT Motorsport driver GTC class and starting driver: “The start was really easy. Nothing happened. I didn’t want to over push the tires at the beginning. The first car I passed was on Lap 2, but then I was constantly building up the speed and I tried not to push too hard. I was catching up on the guys up front, including Sean when he got stuck behind Heylen. With one quarter of the stint to go I got unlucky with the traffic and lost seven seconds. Therefore everything I had built up, I lost. It was the first hour of the race though so it’s not very important now. I’m getting back in the car in about an hour. I think the pushing will happen in the last hours. I know Carlos and Mario will do a good job. Hopefully we stay in the Top 6. That should be enough to be competitive at the end.”
Henrique Cisneros, MOMO owner/driver No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsports Porsche GT3, who drove a double stint: “The first stint was a little bit difficult. I had to get used to the car and it was a little different setup than the last time I drove it. There was a lot of traffic. I was having a hard time with traffic. Every time someone would pass me they would kind of knock me off my rhythm and then I’d have to get back up to speed. Then we got a full course caution and they asked me if I felt okay to do another stint. We did our pit stop soon after that. At one point we had a close call and got hit from behind by one of the Flying Lizards. Luckily I was able to recover the car on track. Overall it was a very consistent, good stint. I feel good about it. We just couldn’t keep up with some of the cars out there and they run away from us. We confirmed on the data that we have a little less power than before. We’ll see how that develops. Hopefully it won’t get any worse. For know we are a couple tenths off of the lead guys.”
Marco Seefried, driver No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsports GTC class and Sebring rookie: “I got in after Henrique’s double stint from the second position in class. Because I did not get a lot of seat time in the practices, I was still learning the track, but got more and more into it. After the safety car came out, I got some new tires during the pit stop and I went out behind Kuba. I was able to keep pace with him for awhile. Before my stop though I felt something was wrong with the cooling. I became overheated so I had to do a safety stop because I felt I was getting dizzy. It ended up the vibration of the bumpy Sebring track disconnected the hose for the cooling. We didn’t lose a lap and with the caution we actually got back into P1.”
Mario Farnbacher, driver No. 31 MOMO NGT Motorsport driver GTC class and Sebring rookie: “I did my first stint after Carlos. We had a full course yellow right after I took over for Carlos. It was really slippery the first lap because of oil caused by the Deltawing. I tried to keep the times really consistent because I didn’t want to overdrive the tires because everybody is struggling with the tires. I think the 18 broke and left oil in turn 2 and 4. The line was really slippery. I tried to keep the same time but everybody was struggling with tires. It wasn't easy to keep the slow pace and be quick. We held P3 and it was a pretty good stop."
Carlos Gomez, driver No. 31 MOMO NGT Motorsport driver GTC class: “This was my second stint. It’s hectic out there. You don’t really know the experience until you do it. The traffic of the prototypes is crazy. They come left and right all over the place. It’s very hard to do a clean lap with traffic behind you. You have to really concentrate and have one eye on the road and one in the mirror. You can really tell the level of competition is very intense. Everyone is packed and it is getting to be very exciting race. I hope we're there at the end fighting for the lead.
Sean Edwards, driver No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsports GTC class: “Marco was getting dehydrated in the car. He came in for a pit stop and couldn’t move. I pulled him out of the car but he was not strong enough to help me. I had to plug in my own radio, my belts and change the water myself. It was a hectic pit stop but it all worked out. Later in the stint we went into the lead with the pit strategy. We got the yellow at the right time. It was a bad start but a good end. The car is feeling better including the tires. It’s still a long way to go. Hopefully Marco can recover; otherwise it will be a tough race for me and Henrique.
MOMO NGT Motorsport Team