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Barbosa Leads at Halfway Mark; Action Express in Control

Action Express Cadillac DPis dominate first half of Motul Petit Le Mans…

Photo: Scott LePage/IMSA

Joao Barbosa leads the 22nd annual Motul Petit Le Mans as the ten-hour enduro at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta reaches the halfway point.

The No. 5 Mustang Sampling-sponsored Cadillac DPi-V.R holds a 1.2-second lead over the No. 77 Team Joest Mazda RT24-P of Timo Bernhard, with Dane Cameron running third in the No. 6 Team Penske Acura ARX-05.

Eric Curran has dropped to fourth in the pole-sitting No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi, which had led the majority of the race.

A full-course caution for an off by the second-placed GT Le Mans car of Dirk Mueller shuffled the running order as the majority of the DPi leaders pitted just moments before the yellow.

Curran restarted in third but came under attack by both Acura Team Penske entries once the action resumed.

GT Le Mans is being led by the No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Scott Dixon, in what had been a Ford 1-2 prior to Mueller’s off in Turn 1.

The No. 66 Ford lost two laps due to the issue for Mueller, having promoted the class pole-sitting No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE of Daniel Serra to second.

Drama for GTD Championship-Winning Acura

Newly clinched GT Daytona class champions Meyer Shank Racing hit trouble just moments prior to halfway, with Justin Marks pitting the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 Evo with smoke billowing from the rear of the car.

Marks’ co-drivers Trent Hindman and Mario Farnbacher clinched the drivers’ championship several hours earlier by Hindman completing the minimum drive time.

The No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 of Robby Foley leads the class, ahead of Ben Keating in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 in second.

McMurry Clinches LMP2 Title as Drama Unfolds

Matt McMurry, meanwhile, has clinched the LMP2 drivers’ championship with his No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson the lone-remaining LMP2 entry after an accident for Cameron Cassels in the second hour.

Cassels lost control of the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca after contact by Juan Pablo Montoya and was clobbered by Penske teammate Helio Castroneves.

The No. 7 Acura DPi came in for a new nose, initially dropping it out of contention.

The race’s second safety car period came when the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi of Matthieu Vaxiviere made contact with Aaron Teilitz’s No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 in Turn 3.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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