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Sebring 12 Hours: Leader Derani walks away from airborne crash lapping GTD

Derani, a previous overall winner at Sebring, was leading the IMSA SportsCar Championship endurance race in the #31 Action Express Cadillac when he attempted to overtake the #21 AF Corse Ferrari of Miguel Molina through Turns 9 and 10.

In a shocking turn of events, he clipped the left-front of the GTD Ferrari, sliding off track and directly towards the the blue and white tyre pack.

The impact was head-on, and the car immediately launched upwards and rolled over, sending tyres flying towards spectators. The car came to a rest upside down and on top of the barrier.

Thankfully, the Brazilian driver was uninjured and managed to walk away from the crash under his own power. There were no reports of injuries among the fans either.


Derani had a lead in excess of 11 seconds at the time of the incident. The full-course yellow lasted over 30 minutes as they made repairs to the barriers.

"I'm alright, thank God," Derani told NBC Sports after being released from the infield care centre.

"Dallara and Cadillac built a strong car. It's one of those days when all of sudden, things go upside down — literally.

"I'm glad I'm okay. Just a shame, because we had a really strong car. The Whelen Engineering V-Series.R was going strong and as you can see there, not much I could have done. The wall came up pretty quick. The moment I was heading to the wall, I knew the race was over.

"Yeah, first time for me flipping a race car. Not the nicest feeling to be upside down until they can turn the car around, but good that I'm racing in 2024 and not in the '60s."

#31 Action Express Racing Cadillac V-Series.R: Pipo Derani, Jack Aitken, Tom Blomqvist (Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images)

Derani also spoke of the feeling of being trapped, having to wait for track workers to prise open the door of his Cadillac.

"It's just a little annoying when you try to open the door and you can't," he said.

"You start thinking whether there is fire or anything like that. But, luckily, everything was alright.

"The safety crew was there quickly, so I was giving them signs that I was OK. Once you can see them outside, you realise that everything will be OK."

He credited the tyre pack for absorbing much of the impact, saying he felt no pain afterwards.

As for blame, he said of the initial contact: "We overtake thousands and thousands of cars through a race like this. It's just one of those moments. Maybe he didn't see, let go a little bit and there I was.

"Maybe I was just expecting him to hold his line to the right, knowing I was going to go on the left.

"It's just one of those situations where it happens without you having any chance of thinking whether you should have done something different or not. 

"It's part of multi-class racing."

Watch: BrrrakeF1 - Under the Skin of Endurance Racing's Advanced Tech

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