The race went back to green just after the halfway mark, Jonathan Bomarito confirming that it was a combination of wet track and slick tyres that caused the ‘off’ for the #55, the car simply sliding off.
Pipo Derani was immediately back on the pace, track conditions have improved under the caution, and the fastest lap fell the way of the Brazilian on lap 168, 1:47.997 in the #31 Cadillac. Pagenaud meanwhile pitted as the Safety Car pulled off, not a lot going right for the Penske pair at present. And the car would be back in too soon again after another 25 minutes, an investigation in the cockpit underway and it would be an extended stop, 15 minutes on pit lane.
Into the second half of the race and with the skies darkening again there were four cars remaining on the lead lap, all Cadillac DPi’s, #31 from #5, 10 and JDC Miller’s #84 with the sister 3`85 a lap down in fifth, Cadillac dominance on Saturday following Toyota’s display in the WEC on Friday, for now at least!
Derani would be the next man to stop, Barbosa to the lead in the #5 Mustang Sampling/ Action Express Cadillac.
Back out on track after repairs to the fire damage earlier, the #77 Mazda, in the hands of Oliver Jarvis, the car though is 100 laps down!
The woes for the #6 Acura meanwhile were confirmed as three separate electronic issues, one of which was a failed power unit for the IMSA data logger!
Barbosa was in just after the half-hour, Felipe Albuquerque aboard the #5, Jordan Taylor to the lead in the #10 Konica Minolta Cadillac.
As the remainder of the leading group pitted it was Derani cycling back around to the lead, now 17 seconds up on the #5, Jordan Taylor a further 9 seconds back and Simon Trummer a further 7 seconds away.
Colin Braun (#54 CORE Nissan) was tracking Alex Rossi, the Penske boys having turned the #7 around very quickly, and the chasing pair working on getting back onto the lead lap.
Just before the end of the seventh hour, it was the start of another pit stop cycle, Derani pitting the #31 from the lead and staying aboard for a third stint.
The cycle was, well pretty static, Nasr climbing aboard the #31 and put in another fastest race lap, 1:47.960 on lap 216, then shaving a further four thousandths on lap 219 in pursuit of Matthieu Vaxiviere in the second-placed #10 Cadillac who is was struggling for ultimate pace, Nasr making a concerted effort to shuffle the order!
Lap 223 and Nasr was by the #10 and into the lead on pace, with the #10 owing a stop!
Nasr though was in after only 15 laps on the stint. No apparent issues though. Lap 232 saw yet another fastest lap, 1:47.862, then a 1:47.808 on lap 235. The #31 now targeting a pass on pace on the leading #5 Cadillac before doing so on the pit cycle, c.28 seconds the gap.
The latest scheduled stop for the #5 though would come before the lead would change on track, Brendon Hartley climbing aboard the Mustang Sampling Cadillac, emerging under 10 seconds behind the #10. Hartley though was closing and fast!
The #10 though was soon in for its latest stop, Matthieu Vaxiviere out and Renger van der Zande in.
Hartley cycled around to the led as Nasr pitted, three cars on the lead lap now, the #84 JDC Miller Cadillac having, for now at least, dropped behind the #54 Core Nissan DPi.
This extended green flag running has meant that the race in GT Le Mans and GT Daytona has been able to develop naturally.
Out front in GTLM is still the #67 Ford GT, now with Richard Westbrook. Scott Dixon had been in for much of the last three hours and did well to extend the cars lead in the class.
Antonio Garcia took over from Jan Magnussen at the pitstop. Magnussen had moved the #3 Corvette C7.R into second in the class, after making his way past the #66 Ford GT, who have now dropped back to fourth. Garcia is currently 28 seconds off the top spot.
That #66 Ford GT remains in third place after leapfrogging the #24 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE on the latest cycle of stops. Sebastian Bourdais in the Ford and Philipp Eng in the BMW have a fourteen-second gap between them.
The #4 Corvette C7.R, after their early race woes and with the lack of Full Course Yellows, have struggled to regain ground. Tommy Milner is behind-the-wheel, ten laps off the leading GTLM car.
Trent Hindman and the #86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 is in the lead of GTD at the 9-hour mark. That team, however, is running on a different strategy and thus owes the rest of the field a pitstop in roughly half an hour.
Second, in the class is the #33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Felipe Fraga. Fraga took over the car from Jeroen Bleekemolen at the last pitstop. That is a car that has spent most of the race at the forefront of the GTD field and is shaping up to be a favourite for the win.
Toni Vilander is now at the controls of the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3. He is a further twenty-one seconds behind the #33 Mercedes. Jeff Westphal had completed the most recent stint and did well to move that car into the conversation.
New to IMSA this season is the #9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. Their run at Sebring has been going much better than their Daytona run, which ended with the car beached in the tri-oval after a crash.
The two silver rated drivers in Zacharie Robichon and Lars Kern have done well to keep the car near the sharp end of the field. The team is dealing with a refuelling issue though. They are having to lift the bonnet of the Porsche to fit the refuelling nozzle in, costing them a few seconds each stop, they are sixth in class, there’s an issue too with the ABS on the tartan Porsche.
Just one car has officially retired from the race, that is the #19 Moorespeed Audi R8 LMS GT3, axle problems plagued them in the seventh hour. In addition to them, the Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo has been battling with a clutch issue, they are behind the wall, 56 laps down and counting.