Mazda, Acura closing in at halfway

Image by LePage/LAT

Mazda, Acura closing in at halfway


Mazda, Acura closing in at halfway


We’re halfway through the 22nd Motul Petit Le Mans, with a Mazda and Acura joining the race-dominating Action Express Cadillacs and a GTLM contender has fallen behind by two laps after finding the gravel trap during the fifth hour.

The No. 77 Mazda Team Joest of Tristan Nunez, Oliver Jarvis, Timo Bernhard has been running in podium contention since the 2:43 mark – leading three times for five laps. After five hours, Bernhard was second behind Joao Barbosa in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac, while Dane Cameron passed Eric Curran in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering entry to take third.

Dirk Mueller was running second in GTLM after 4:30 when he admitted “running out of hands” and going into the Turn 1 gravel trap, kissing the barrier with the second-place No. 66 Ford GT. He was able to get extricated as the race went under caution for the third time, but the excursion cost him two laps.

Scott Dixon retained the GTLM lead in the No. 67 Ford GT, followed by Daniel Serra in the No. 62 Ferrari, Tom Blomqvist in the No. 25 BMW, Mathieu Jaminet in the No. 912 Porsche and Mike Rockenfeller in the No. 3 Corvette.

The No. 86 Meyer Shank Acura of Justin Marks went up in smoke at the 4:54 mark, sending the car to the garage. Co-drivers Mario Farnbacher and Trent Hindman have already clinched the class title. Up front was Robby Foley in the No. 96 BMW, followed by Ben Keating in the No. 33 Mercedes and Cooper MacNeil in the No. 63 Ferrari.

One result of the caution for Mueller’s incident was that it put all of the seven lead-lap DPi contenders back on the same pit sequence.