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CGR’s Dixon Leads After Three Hours

Chip Ganassi Racing holds lead at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta after multiple incidents…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Scott Dixon leads Motul Petit Le Mans for Chip Ganassi Racing after three hours of running amid multiple full-course cautions.

CGR co-driver Sebastien Bourdais led comfortably in DPi, and handed the car over to Dixon under caution with the No. 01 still in the lead of the race.

Brendon Hartley briefly led prior to the most recent caution as the leaders had all made stops under green flag running. The Kiwi nearly ran out of fuel on track but pitted on Lap 108 for service.

The No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R. held second DPi, followed by Helio Castroneves in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05.

Multiple incidents neutralized the field after the first hour of running was completed.

The most dramatic of which occurred near the end Hour 3, when the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson of Ben Keating suffered a heavy crash in Turn 1. Keating climbed out of the car uninjured.

Prior to crashing out, Keating was passed by Sebastian Montoya’s N0. 81 DragonSpeed Oreca for the class lead, with the No. 11 PR1/Mathiasen Oreca now out front.

The LMP3 class was not immune from drama either, as the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P320 Nissan spun out of Turn 7, hitting the tire barriers in the second hour.

Colin Braun led the class for the majority of the first three hours, but handed the lead to the No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier during the back-to-back pit cycles.

The GTD and GTD Pro field have been shuffled after the safety car picked up the No. 1 Paul Miller BMW M4 GT3 ahead of the No. 9 GTD Pro Pfaff Porsche.

After the GTDs were given a wave-by, they are effectively one lap up on their GTD Pro counterparts.

The No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 leads the way at the third hour, with the Team Korthoff Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo and the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 of Madison Snow behind.

Newly clinched GTD Pro champions Pfaff Motorsports led the class ahead of the No. 14  Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 and the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 in third.

Near the 90-minute mark, the No. 18 Era Motorsports Oreca spun off track, requiring extraction, and bringing out the safety car.

After only a few laps of green flag running, the race was halted again as the No. 44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin GT3 of John Potter collided with No. 99 Hardpoint Porsche 911 GT3 R of Rob Ferriol in Turn 10, forcing both cars off into the gravel.

Ferriol was able to keep the No. 99 Porsche going, rejoining 12th in class. Potter received contact from the No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari.

Nearly simultaneously, the No. 20 High Class Racing LMP2 entry went off the track at Turn 1, hitting the tire barriers before getting back onto the track.

The field had just returned to green flag running ahead of the beginning of the fourth hour.

Jonathan Grace is the host of Sportscar365's Double Stint Podcast and a contributor to the web site's IMSA-sanctioned race coverage.

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