McLaughlin P6, Campbell crashes as Cadillac lock out Sebring 12 Hour front row

Matt Campbell prompted a red flag in qualifying after this incident at Turn 1.

Matt Campbell crashed heavily in qualifying for the Mobil 1 Sebring 12 Hours, which will see the Australian start seventh in the race, with the Cadillacs locking out the front row.

As the track ramped up, the field – restricted to the harder Michelin tyre – cut faster times, with the top eight cars improving on the 1:47.086 set in Practice by the #6 Team Penske Porsche 936 of Mathieu Jaminet/Dane Cameron/Nick Tandy.

Towards the end of the session, Pipo Derani set a 1:45.836s lap around the 6.02-kilometre layout, putting the #31 Whelan Engineering Racing Cadillac to the top, 0.087s ahead of the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac driven by Sebastien Bourdais.

Ricky Taylor was third-fastest in the #10 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06, ahead of the Jaminet Porsche with the second Acura of Tom Blomqvist fifth.

The scene was set for a final push ahead with a little more than five minutes remaining in the session – until Campbell, who’d set the seventh fastest time up to that point, crashed heavily at Turn 1.

A rare error from the Australian saw him contact the inside wall at the first turn, spinning the #7 Porsche 936 rearwards into the tyre barrier to prompt a red flag. Campbell walked away from the incident.

That left Derani at the top of the timesheet, the Brazilian scoring the first pole position for Cadillac in 2023, with Bourdais alongside him on the front row with Taylor’s Acura third.

McLaughlin to start P6

Fastest in LMP2 was Ben Keating with a 1:51.780 in the Oreca LMP2 07 he’ll drive with Paul Loup-Chatin and Alex Quinn from ninth on the grid.

Scott McLaughlin will start 14th overall but sixth in LMP2 in the Oreca LMP2 07 he’s sharing with Kyffin Simpson and John Farano, the latter setting the trio’s 1:53.597.

On social media, the New Zealander described the earlier night FP4 session at the historic circuit as one of the craziest experiences of his career.

The 71st Mobil 1 Sebring 12 Hours starts at 10:10 local time on Saturday March 18 (0110 AEDT on Sunday March 19).

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