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ESM Leads Petit Le Mans After First Hour; Championships Clinched

ESM leads Petit Le Mans after first hour; championships clinched…

Photo: Richard Dole/IMSA

Tequila Patron ESM leads the Motul Petit Le Mans after the first hour, while championships in Prototype, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona have been clinched by drivers starting the race.

Brendon Hartley is currently out front in the No. 2 Nissan Onroak DPi while Pipo Derani is second in the sister ESM car.

GT Le Mans championship winner Antonio Garcia leads the way in his class for Corvette Racing, while Andy Lally is the GT Daytona class leader. James French is at the front of the Prototype Challenge field.

Garcia and co-driver Jan Magnussen have been confirmed as GTLM class champions by starting the race, as have Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan in GTD and Jordan and Ricky Taylor in Prototype.

The race went under full course caution for ten minutes following an incident between the pole-sitting Team Penske Oreca 07 Gibson of Helio Castroneves and Matteo Cressoni’s Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3.

The Ferrari dropped a wheel onto the grass sending it into the back of the Oreca. Both cars returned to the pits but Cressoni was given a penalty for entering a closed pit lane.

Castroneves lost one lap due the incident and runs outside of the top-20 overall.

All cars apart from Ben Keating’s Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 started the race on wet tires following a downpour earlier in the morning which led to the entire field changing tires in the first 15 minutes as the track dried.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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