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Hour 6: #7 Acura Leads After More DPi Dramas

BMW still lead GTLM, #63 Ferrari and #52 Oreca in the classes

The sun is setting and darkness is near at Petit Le Mans from Road Atlanta and the running order has been shaken up by two incidents involving DPi runners. For now, it’s the #7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05c leading the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R. The story of the last three hours, however, were the incidents involving top contenders.

After the #55 Mazda RT-24P’s chances of winning fell away in the first hour, Mazda’s hopes fell to the #77 Mazda RT-24P. Those hopes were also dashed when Oliver Jarvis was hit by the #63 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 at pit exit. The contact sent Jarvis sailing into the wall and left the #77 Mazda with substantial damage.

Jarvis nursed the car back to the garage where it repairs were completed. The car returned to the track, 20 laps down.

Involved in a separate incident that occurred at the same time was the #6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05c. The car that led the race for much of the first half hit the #8 Tower Motorsports ORECA 07 in an incident that was not captured by the TV cameras.

“I felt someone on the inside of me going into Turn 3, who I had never seen in my mirrors so it must have been an optimistic divebomb from Dane Cameron, normally I see quite a lot of people in my mirrors but this one I never even saw a little glimpse,” Job can Uitert said about.

“Just way too optimistic he wasn’t even halfway alongside me and he basically crushed our sidepod with his front splitter and that spun me around. Luckily, we were able to continue but the car is pretty damaged, though,” van Uitert added.

While the #8 ORECA is left to battle with the damage, the #6 Acura has worked its way back up to third in DPi.

GTLM has been stable over the last three hours. The #24 BMW is still out front in the class which has been uber-competitive. The #3 Corvette C8.R is just under five-seconds away from the leading BMW.

Corvette is planning on being more aggressive when night arrives in roughly thirty minutes, though.

“Seeing how much racing there is to go and how aggressive it is so far, I think it will be a game of survival for the next few hours and then go race for the last couple. I think for us, the track will come to us. We’re planning for the cold weather at night. In the daytime and when the sun is on the track, it’s all about tire management. As it cools down, we’ll be able to be a little more aggressive in the car,” Jordan Taylor said.

The #912 Porsche 911 RSR is in fifth having just served a drive-thru penalty for an incident between it and the #3 Corvette on the run down to Turn 10a. The Porsche squeezed the Corvette to the left side of the track and the two made slight contact. Neither car sustained damage.

The #63 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 of Alessandro Balzan leads GTD with Jan Heylen in the #16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R in second.

The GTD championship storylines are fascinating with the #14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC-F GT3 struggling mightily for pace. The #14 Lexus is in eighth while the #86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 is in fourth, all opening the door for the #16 Porsche if positions hold.

In LMP2, it’s still the #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA 07 that leads with a one-lap advantage on the ailing #8 ORECA. The #38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA 07 is third, five laps down.