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Alegra Motorsports Impresses at Sebring;
Runs in Third at Halfway with Its InSync Riley BMW

TAMPA, Fla., March 22 — Of the many stories that developed during Saturday's Mobile 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida at Sebring International Raceway, Alegra Motorsports' tale was one of the most compelling.

The privateer (non-factory) team based in Tampa, Fla. was in line for a podium finish both overall and in the top class, Prototype, at the race's halfway point.

That was remarkable for at least four reasons.

The first was simply the level of competition it faced in the second round of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The second was that the team members only had one test late last month before they debuted their new-to-them Riley BMW at Sebring with support from sponsors InSync Healthcare Solutions and Poker Stars.

The third was that three of the car's four drivers had never driven a Prototype before they got the chance to drive this one.

And the fourth was perhaps the most remarkable. Of those three, Daniel Morad, who watched last year's race on TV from his home in Toronto just dreaming of the chance to drive in this race someday, was the one who was in third at the halfway point, and he was running almost 2 seconds faster than the overall leader in his first endurance race and his first time at this track.

It was a testament to the crew's hard work and the talents of Morad, 25, and co-drivers Cameron Lawrence, 23, of Windermere, Fla.; Dominik Farnbacher, 31, of Ansbach, Germany, and team owner and veteran driver Carlos de Quesada of Tampa.

After posting the third-fastest time in one of the four practice sessions, Morad qualified tenth for the 48-car enduro on Sebring's bumpy, 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course with a time of 1:54.193 (117.906 miles per hour). He started the race on Saturday morning, and set the car's fastest race lap on lap 14 with a time of 1:55.118 before turning the car over to Farnbacher.

Farnbacher started his first stint in tenth and most of it was done in very slippery conditions due to rain. At that point the focus turned to the decisions of the team managers, like Alegra's Andy Greene, who had to become weather forecasters and decide to use slicks or rain tires under the changing conditions. Greene chose to let Farnbacher say out as long as possible on slicks. Farnbacher rose to third because of it, keeping the car off the wall despite the treacherous conditions.

Soon the rain was pouring, however. Farnbacher came in for rain tires on lap 44, an hour and 34 minutes into the race, while still in third position. At that point de Quesada took over. There was a lot of spray and several yellows for crashes, but de Quesada kept the car rolling in sixth place despite the bad conditions until lightning forced the officials to throw a red flag on lap 67 at 1:31 p.m.

The red lasted for 2 hours and 15 minutes, during which time no work could be done on the cars. de Quesada pitted shortly after the race resumed under yellow, and Morad got in the car for his second stint.

He started that one in seventh place, but the track conditions were much better and he was able to move into the top five on lap 82 at the 5:50:09-hour mark by passing Marc Goossens and Ricky Taylor. On the following lap he passed Oswaldo Negri and Scott Sharp to move into third place. At that point he was 11.610 seconds behind the leader, Filipe Albuquerque, and he was driving the fastest car on the track.

At the actual halfway point of the race 10 minutes later he was still in third and Albuquerque was still leading, but now the latter was only 7.866 seconds ahead. Scott Pruett had replaced Scott Sharp in second place, but he was only 6.368 ahead of Morad. Negri was fourth, 9.800 seconds behind the Alegra #24.

Morad was able to maintain third place from lap 83 until he pitted on lap 95 for Lawrence to take over. It was enough time to make many insiders sit up and take notice.

With the pit stop Lawrence started his stint in sixth, but he was able to rise to fourth very quickly when two rivals also pitted. What's more, he was running faster than both Pruett, who was second, and Pepe Derani, who was third in the car that would eventually win the race.

Ryan Dalziel turned the wick up on lap 102, however, and passed Lawrence to push him back to fifth.

Lawrence was still in fifth on lap 110 when unfortunately the team's luck turned faster than an alligator slips off a bank and into a Florida swamp. Electrical problems forced Lawrence to pit for a long pit stop and the entry dropped to 11th place. It was 12th for awhile but then regained 11th after Max Angelelli's car retired, as it was having electrical problems too.

Farnbacher, Lawrence and Morad did more stints until the team parked the car for more extensive repairs. In true endurance racing spirit de Quesada got in for the finish, and the entry took the checkered flag in 11th place.

The team got some points in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup for this event, and will now focus on preparing for the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. on June 30-July 3, a race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario July 8-10, and the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. Sept. 28-Oct. 1.

Alegra Motorsports competes in the IMSA Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama series too. The team's youngest driver, 16-year-old Michael de Quesada, used a Sebring doubleheader for a similar American series as a tune-up, and came away with double victories in the Gold Cup division on Thursday and Friday.

On Thursday he took the class lead on lap seven from Mark Llano and then stayed in the lead until the checkered waved on lap 20 despite losing his car's splitter early in the race. He led every lap in his class in Friday's 18-lap contest after passing Mike Levitas on the outside in Turn 3 on the first lap.

More information is available on the team's Facebook page,, and

Post-race quotes follow:

Daniel Morad: "First and foremost, I would like to thank Alegra Motorsports for such an incredible opportunity, not only to be a part of this amazing team, but to put their trust in me to qualify and start the car in the race. Although we didn't get the result we were looking for due to an electrical problem seven hours into the race, we showed everybody that the little guys can fight with the giants.

"When the rain started to come down, that's when we started to shine. First, Dominik was able to stay out on slick tires for quite a while when the light rain started to fall. That put us right up at the sharp end of the field.

"Then Carlos took over and held his own up there in treacherous conditions before the red flag halted the race.

"After the red-flag period, I was able to jump back in and had an amazing car under me in the tricky, drying conditions. I maximized my opportunity and took the car up to third place, right on the rear wing of the leaders. At that point we were able to go around 2 seconds a lap faster than the entire field.

"It was a pleasure to share this opportunity with some amazing drivers. Carlos, Dominik and Cameron did an outstanding job out there, and I really look forward to our next race at Watkins Glen."

Dominik Farnbacher: "I want to say a huge thank you to Carlos and his crew for doing an outstanding job this weekend. We showed that we were right there with the pack despite the difficult conditions. We had the car twice in the top three during the running, so that showed that there is potential.

"Unfortunately we had a few little issues with the car which made us work on it for a while. But that's racing.

"I'm glad to have teamed up with Carlos, Cameron and Daniel. All of them kept the car clean and drove really well. I am really looking forward to getting that car on track again in the future."

Cameron Lawrence: "While the result wasn't what we had hoped for, it was great to compete in the Mobile 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida for the second year in a row.

"I was able to run neck and neck with top-notch drivers like Ryan Dalziel during my stint until trouble struck and mechanical difficulties hindered our race.

"It was great being back in a Riley product after my success with Riley Motorsports last season in GTD, and being able to race a Daytona Prototype has always been a dream of mine. I can't thank Carlos de Quesada and Alegra Motorsports enough for the opportunity. I enjoyed working with everyone at Alegra Motorsports and my co-drivers, Carlos de Quesada, Dominik Farnbacher and Daniel Morad."

Carlos de Quesada: "I was very happy with the performance of my team and drivers. The team did an outstanding job, giving us a well-prepared car and doing flawless pit stops.

"Our expectation for Sebring was to run in the top five, and that we did. Unfortunately, electrical issues past the halfway point caused us to fall back considerably."

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