Half way home at Petit Le Mans
Half way home at Petit Le Mans
There was no shortage of action as the 17th running of Petit Le Mans hit the half way mark at Road Atlanta – nine yellow flag safety car periods interrupting the 10 hour battle.
The Wayne Taylor Racing No.10 Corvette DP held the upper hand over the championship-winning machine of Action Express Racing after five hours. The Action Express squad clinched the team’s championship after starting the race and then secured the driver’s championship after Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa completed 45 mins each behind the wheel in the race.
At the half way mark, the Ford-powered Ganassi machine sat in third place. One of the early stars of the show was the Oak Racing Honda of Alex Brundle. The young Brit started from the rear of the grid but charged his way through to the leading pack. However, contact between co-driver Gustavo Yacaman and the DeltaWing in turn one ended the French team’s assault.
The GTLM race was equally as action packed. The No.91 Viper grabbed the lead at the first pit stops after they pitted before the first yellow. The No.3 Corvette of Antonio Garcia then jumped into the lead on the next stop with a stellar stop by the Corvette crew.
However, contact in pit lane between the No.911 Porsche (the early race leader), the No.3 Corvette and the No.62 Ferrari caused dramatic turmoil. The Corvette lost four laps as the team had to repair the front of their car while the Ferrari was forced out the race thanks to the contact.
Pierre Kaffer was exiting the pits after the No.62 Ferrari 458 Italia’s third pit stop and stopped at the pit exit as the red light was on preventing cars from re-joining the track. The Porsche and Corvette behind him failed to stop and the Ferrari was hit hard on the right rear causing extensive damage to the suspension, half shaft, diffuser and rear chassis sub frame
“It’s impossible to accurately assess here the extent of the chassis damage and I’m not prepared to take any risks with our car or our drivers in a race as intense as this,” said Team Principal Giuseppe Risi.
“It goes without saying that I am desperately disappointed for the whole team who have worked tirelessly not just this week but through the whole season. I am enormously proud of the way they bounced back from adversity at the start of the year and of the two victories and podiums we have claimed since then.”
The No.912 Porsche of Michael Christensen held the GTLM lead at the half way mark.
In the PC class the combination of Frankie Montecalvo and Gunnar Jeannette held a strong lead. The Camp Boggy Creek car elected to enter this weekend with just two drivers and the strategy appears to be paying off with strong consistent performances from both drivers.
GTD Championship leader Dane Cameron held the class lead at the half way point aboard his Turner Motorsport BMW.
Top Three in Class (overall in parentheses)
(1) #10-P Max Angelelli (Corvette DP) 193 laps
(2) #5-P Sebastien Bourdais (Corvette DP) 193 laps (0.814- in class) (0.814- overall)
(3) #01-P Scott Dixon (Riley DP Ford EcoBoost) 193 laps (1.475- in class) (1.475- overall)
(5) #52-PC Frankie Montecalvo (Oreca FLM 09 Chevrolet) 192 laps (-1 Laps overall)
(6) #08-PC Jack Hawksworth (Oreca FLM 09 Chevrolet) 192 laps (1.108- in class) (-1 Laps overall)
(7) #8-PC Alex Popow (Oreca FLM 09 Chevrolet) 192 laps (19.808- in class) (-1 Laps overall)
(11) #912-GTLM Michael Christensen (Porsche 911 RSR) 190 laps (-3 Laps overall)
(12) #911-GTLM Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR) 190 laps (1.453- in class) (-3 Laps overall)
(13) #4-GTLM Tommy Milner (Chevrolet Corvette C7.R) 190 laps (2.847- in class) (-3 Laps overall)
(25) #94-GTD Dane Cameron (BMW Z4) 183 laps (-10 Laps overall)
(26) #23-GTD Alex Riberas (Porsche 911 GT America) 183 laps (1.187- in class) (-10 Laps overall)
(27) #22-GTD Leh Keen (Porsche 911 GT America) 183 laps (9.092- in class) (-10 Laps overall)