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Petit Le Mans: Action Express To The Fore Halfway Through

Risi leads GTLM, Shank leads GTD

It’s Action Express sitting 1-2, halfway through the 2017 running of Petit Le Mans, with Dane Cameron in the Action Express Whelen Cadillac DPi V.R leading the sister Mustang Sampling Caddy of Filipe Albuquerque.

Cameron has had an unlikely run to the front, after Mike Conway lost a lot of ground in the car during the end of the fifth hour, the Britain having to make an unscheduled stop to remover tyre debris which stuck to the front and caused the engine temperature to spike. But caution periods, and quick pit work have helped the Whelen Cadillac find its way back into the lead.

Third, is the #22 ESM Nissan DPI of Johannes Van Overbeek, after the car led during the fifth hour, before its sixth stop.

The story of the past two hours though, was Gustavo Menezes in the Rebellion Racing ORECA. The American charged through the field from fifth place, taking places notably from the Penske ORECA of Juan Pablo Montoya at Turn 10 (the Penske car now firmly in the lead battle after getting back on the lead lap) before taking the top spot off Van Overbeek’s ESM Nissan round the outside at Turn 1.

The Swiss-flagged team though, wouldn’t lead for long, as during the last round of stops before the five-hour mark, Nick Heidfeld climbed in and emerged fifth. The car is now fourth, after Heidfeld muscled past Jonathan Bomarito in the Visit Florida Ligier.

Sixth is the Penske ORECA which like the Rebellion 07, also fell back after a longer stop, with the #85 JDC Miller ORECA now down to seventh.

Chris Miller caused the JDC team to drop out of the top five, after hitting Scott Sharp’s #2 ESM Nissan up the rear into Turn 10, causing a caution. Both cars are now off the lead lap, after the ESM machine was towed from the gravel and is now eighth, and Miller served a subsequent drive-through, and is circulating seventh.

In the GTLM class, the Risi Ferrari charged through to the lead at the end of hour five, Giancarlo Fisichella spurred on from a quick stop that promoted the car from outside the top five, to third.

The Italian got past Kuno Wittmer in the #25 RLL BMW (now third) and Dirk Werner in the #911 Porsche (now second) to take the class lead.

Outside the top three in the extremely tight class, is the #4 Corvette, which has recovered from Milner’s spin earlier in the race. The #912 Porsche completes the top five.

But the positions keep changing, eight of the nine cars within 11 seconds of each other, running in a train.

In GT Daytona it is still all about the #93 Acura NSX which continues to hold the top spot, Mark Wilkins is currently behind the wheel of that car. He is being chased down by Madison Snow, piloting the #48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini, the second place being held by them is the highest that car has been all race.

Third in class is the #29 Montaplast by Land-Motorsport being driven by Christopher Mies. Land is looking for their second win of the day after the team’s earlier success in VLN 8 this weekend.

Three GTD cars have gone behind the wall, the #75 SunEnergy1 car with an unknown technical issue, the #96 Turner Motorsports BMW (which at points led the class) with a faulty turbo sensor that would have over-boosted the engine and killed it without it being fixed, and finally the championship leading #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari.

The #63 came to a stop on the back stretch and brought out a full-course yellow. Once nursed back home it was revealed to be a broken axel, the team has not declared a retirement as of the end of hour five, but are close to doing so.

The #38 Performance Tech car continues to lead in the Prototype Challenge class.

Kyle Masson holds onto a two lap lead over the next car in class. That being the #20 BAR1 Motorsports car currently being driven by Buddy Rice.

John Falb meanwhile is still behind the wheel of the #26 BAR1 car, they remain in third and therefore last.