Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa took victory for Action Express in an eventful United SportsCar Championship race at Indianapolis.
The duo's Corvette led for most of the distance, barring a brief period in the middle of the race that saw Sage Karam and Scott Pruett's Chip Ganassi Riley-Ford take the lead before dropping back in the second round of pitstops.
Fittipaldi seized the lead at the start from poleman Scott Sharp, although not without making contact with both Karam, who subsequently cut the first corner, and Gustavo Yacaman's OAK Morgan, which spun and was forced to rejoin at the very rear of the field.
Fittipaldi held his advantage after the first caution period - called as one of the doors from Dominik Farnbacher's Viper ended up in the middle of the track - and survived an attack from Karam at the second restart after the safety car was brought out when contact between Patrick Lindsey's Porsche and Jan Magnussen's Corvette triggered a minor pile-up.
Soon after, a third caution period was called to allow the marshals to attend to a damaged kerb, which took half an hour to repair. The leaders all pitted at this stage, with Fittipaldi taking the opportunity to hand over to Barbosa.
The Portuguese driver began to ease away from the pack when the race got back underway before encountering traffic, allowing Karam to close rapidly and seize the lead with a bold pass at Turn 7.
Karam wasted no time in stretching his advantage, but the Ganassi driver surrendered the lead to Barbosa handing over to Pruett, who lacked the pace of his team-mate some 35 years his junior.
All the leaders were forced to pit for a third and final time for fuel in the final 15 minutes of the race with the exception of Barbosa, who took the chequered flag with a mammoth 48 second advantage over Pruett.
The result was the first Action Express victory since the team triumphed in the season-opening Daytona 24 Hours.
The Corvette of Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante completed an all-DP podium, just ahead of the Corvette shared by Ricky and Jordan Taylor, which suffered from a loose diffuser. Ryan Dalziel, taking over from Sharp, completed the top five, losing two places after spinning his HPD at Turn 1 while attacking Pruett for second.
The PC class win went the way of RSR Racing drivers Jack Hawksworth and Chris Cumming following a pass on the sister car of Bruno Junqueira and Duncan Ende in the dying stages of the race.
VIPER GETS GT WIN AFTER PORSCHE HEARTBREAK
Nick Tandy took control of the GT LM class shortly after the third and final restart, and was on course for a comfortable win until engine problems forced the Porsche North America entry shared with Richard Lietz to retire with less than an hour to go.
That handed the advantage to Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer, who took the SRT Viper's first USC victory by 10 seconds over the Risi Ferrari shared by Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer.
The sole surviving factory Porsche of Patrick Long and Michael Christensen completed the class podium.
Ferrari enjoyed success in the GTD class courtesy of Scuderia Corsa drivers Alessandro Balzan and Jeff Westphal, ahead of the Audi shared by Christopher Haase and Bryce Miller and the Viper of Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating.
Results - 108 laps: Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap 1. P Barbosa/Fittipaldi Action Express Corvette DP 2h46m02.720s 2. P Pruett/Karam Ganassi Riley-Ford +48.964s 3. P Westbrook/Valiante SDR Corvette DP +52.160s 4. P Taylor/Taylor Taylor Corvette DP +58.309s 5. P Dalziel/Sharp Extreme Speed HPD +59.595s 6. P Negri/Pew Shank Riley-Ford -1 lap 7. P van Overbeek/Brown Extreme Speed HPD -1 lap 8. P Tung/Yacaman OAK Morgan-Nissan -1 lap 9. PC Hawksworth/Cumming RSR FLM -1 lap 10. PC Junqueira/Ende RSR FLM -1 lap Other class winners: 14. GTLM Bomartio/Wittmer SRT Viper -3 laps 25. GTD Balzan/Westphal Corsa Ferrari -6 laps
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