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WeatherTech Championship

Curran Leads after 3 Hours at Road Atlanta

Eric Curran holds a slim lead over Helio Castroneves after three hours at Road Atlanta…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Eric Curran holds a 0.308 second lead over Helio Castroneves with three hours complete at Motul Petit Le Mans, but the Brazilian is closing the gap.

The American jumped to the top spot after his Action Express Racing crew called him to pit road for service on the No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R just before the third full course caution of the event while the rest of the field pitted under the subsequent yellow.

Castroneves is second for Acura Team Penske, and has closed to within a second of the race lead, while Tristan Vautier holds the final spot on the podium in the sister No. 5 AXR Cadillac that is vying for the season championship.

Ford holds the edge in its race long duel with Chevrolet after three hours with Dirk Mueller’s No. 66 Ford GT leading the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R of Jan Magnussen. Ryan Briscoe and Oliver Gavin are third and fourth for Ford and Corvette, respectively.

Jeroen Bleekemolen has moved to a commanding 13-second lead in GT Daytona in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3. Christopher Mies is second in the No. 19 Montaplast by Land Audi R8 LMS GT3.

The championship contenders, meanwhile, are separated on track with the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 running fourth in the hands of Corey Lewis and the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 driven by Katherine Legge back in ninth in class.

Two incidents have brought out the safety car in the last two hours. Late in Hour 2, Dillon Machavern made heavy wall contact entering Turn 1 in the Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3.

Machavern was on the outside of a four-wide moment on the front straight when the the No. 31 AXR Cadillac made slight contact with the No. 64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3, moving the Ferrari into the side of Machavern’s BMW.

The contact sent Machavern spinning into the outside wall before coming to a rest on the outside of the first turn. The driver exited the car under his own power but the car was retired from the race.

The incident was reviewed by race control and no action was taken.

Midway through Hour 3, Misha Goikhberg brought out the third full course caution of the event when the No. 99 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson wound up stuck in the Turn 10 gravel trap.

The car was retrieved by the safety team and has continued on but lost a lap in the process.

Trouble found two more of the early contenders with the No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi going behind the wall for a mechanical problem in Hour 3, while the No. 55 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P of Spencer Pigot lost a wheel after pitting under the second full course yellow and now runs in the sixth position.

Of note, the Prototype class championship-contending No. 54 CORE autosport Oreca is back on the lead lap after dropping two laps off the pace early on.

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based journalist and sportscaster, covering IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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