At the seven-hour mark of this year’s Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda, the Corvette DP lead battle has continued up front although now the No. 5 Action Express entry has gotten clear of the No. 10 Wayne Taylor car.
However at the 7:07 mark of the race, the 11th full-course caution has come out with the sole remaining Mazda SKYACTIV-D, the No. 70, stopping on track exiting Turn 7.
Joao Barbosa and Max Angelelli enjoyed a great scrap in the sixth hour, barely separated by a few tenths, and Barbosa emerged ahead by a bigger gap by the end of the seventh hour as Angelelli handed the No. 10 back to Ricky Taylor.
The No. 01 Riley-Ford and the DeltaWing continue in third and fourth, respectively. Both cars have had a brief taste of the lead.
PC saw Sean Rayhall turn in a sublime stint, running anywhere from two to three seconds quicker than the rest of the field, to claw back a huge deficit and eventually move into the lead after getting around Frankie Montecalvo.
On the most recent pit stop exchange, Rayhall and Montecalvo swapped to Tom Kimber-Smith and Gunnar Jeannette, respectively, and Jeannette re-assumed the lead. Kimber-Smith got it back just before the seven-hour mark after a pair of slow laps cost Jeannette eight-plus seconds.
PC’s big moment in this sequence was when prior leader Rusty Mitchell, in the lone remaining RSR Racing entry, spun on exit to Turn 5. He then resumed after a spin back onto the track and nearly collected Andy Lally in the Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America.
In GT Le Mans, Earl Bamber assumed the lead for the first time in his factory and class debut in the No. 912 Porsche, although on a different strategy to his top rivals, the No. 4 Corvette C7.R and No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR, respectively.
At the seven-hour mark, Marco Holzer led in the Falken Porsche although he was due to pit shortly thereafter. Bamber was in prime pouncing position.
The No. 91 Viper was also in striking range with the No. 93 Viper and No. 3 Corvette further back in class.
Meanwhile Jan Magnussen offered his view on what happened in the third hour pit contact that took the No. 3 Corvette out of contention.
“Leaving the pits, a bunch of us came out at the exact time so we were going down to the exit at the same time,” Magnussen said. “Kyle (Millay, No. 3 engineer) was telling me over the radio that the pit lane was red so I knew I had to start to slow down.
“I couldn’t see the Ferrari in front of me because the Porsche was covering him. And then I was going to slow at the same rate as him, and he seemed to be slowing down a little and I just followed him.
“Apparently he was still doing his belts so he just rammed the Ferrari and stopped right in front of me and kind of jumped sideways. If he had stopped there, it would have been fine and I would have slipped by. But he bounced out to the side in front of me and I collected him in his rear corner and did a lot of damage to the front of our car. It’s so tough.”
GT Daytona has seen the lead battle stabilize between Mario Farnbacher in the No. 23 Team Seattle-AJR Porsche 911 GT America, Christoffer Nygaard in the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 and Madison Snow in the No. 58 Snow Racing/Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America.
Quietly playing its way into contention is the No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage, courtesy of good stints from its trio of James Davison, Christina Nielsen and David Block.
The No. 22 AJR and No. 555 AIM cars sat seventh and ninth at the seven-hour mark.
Further NAEC points will be handed out at the eight-hour mark.