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Action Express Cadillac Leads with Two Hours to Go

No. 31 Cadillac crew awarded maximum Endurance Cup points again as Nasr leads…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Action Express Racing’s No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R led the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Motul Petit Le Mans 10-hour enduro heading into the final two hours.

AXR got its driver Felipe Nasr out ahead of Acura Team Penske’s Alexander Rossi after a round of pit stops in hour eight.

This set Nasr up to take the No. 31 Cadillac that he shares with Pipo Derani and Filipe Albuquerque through to a maximum points score for the second of three Michelin Endurance Cup points distribution intervals.

Rossi earned four points for himself and his No. 7 Team Penske Acura ARX-05 co-drivers Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor, with 6.9 seconds separating the lead cars.

A further 3.5s back in third was Scott Dixon at the wheel of Wayne Taylor Racing’s Cadillac, which picked up three MEC points.

Dixon’s co-drivers Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande continue to lead the MEC championship although Nasr, Derani and Albuquerque are now only two points adrift having also scored five points at the first distribution interval on four hours.

Loic Duval was half a minute behind Dixon in fourth, with the Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac driver attempting to maintain a gap over Juan Pablo Montoya in the other Penske Acura that lost ground early in the fifth hour through a tangle with an LMP2 car.

Both Mazda Motorsports entries are out of contention for the win but remain active on-track a total of 19 laps down on the DPi contenders.

The No. 55 Mazda RT24-P that endured a costly brake change had 20 seconds in hand to its sister No. 77 car that crashed to bring out a Full Course Yellow just before halfway.

The No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac, which has been the other DPi entry to hit significant trouble, returned to the track with just over four hours remaining while Chris Miller had a spin in the dark conditions before carrying on.

GT Le Mans has continued to be closely-fought between the three manufacturers.

BMW Team RLL’s Jesse Krohn led into the final two hours from Corvette Racing driver Antonio Garcia and the Porsches of Laurens Vanthoor and Matt Campbell.

The top four cars were less than seven seconds apart after eight hours, with Corvette’s Tommy Milner a further 25 seconds down the road.

In GT Daytona, Aaron Telitz led for AIM Vasser Sullivan in the team’s No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 which was awarded the full five points at the latest MEC stage.

Telitz had Alessandro Balzan just under eight seconds behind in the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020, with Alvaro Parente in third and keeping the Heinricher Racing by MSR Acura NSX GT3 Evo in contention for the class win.

Heinricher’s sister championship-leading No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura hit trouble in the eighth hour when it picked up suspension damage following a clash at Turn 11 with The Heart of Racing’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

Side-on contact between McMurry in the MSR Acura and Roman de Angelis in the Aston Martin resulted in considerable damage to both cars.

The battle for LMP2 class honors tightened up after halfway as the Tower Motorsport by Starworks Oreca 07 Gibson closed in on the leading PR/1 Mathiasen Motorsports machine.

Job van Uitert was 12 seconds behind Scott Huffaker heading into the closing stints.

Positions after Eight Hours

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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