The ninth hour has begun, and it started under caution after Cameron Cassels went head on into the tires at the Horseshoe in the No. 38 Performance Tech ORECA. Cassels brought the yellows out as he was unable to reverse out of the barriers. The team was a distant fifth when he went off, and has now slipped back behind the top six GTLM runners in the running order.
When he managed to get the car back the team had to replace the front section, before sending him back out.
A round of stops subsequently took place during the caution and there was a notable drama in DPi, the No. 55 Mazda having its front end replaced. Harry Tincknell in the car, pulled away, then stopped, forcing the mechanics to push the car back to its pit box.
After another check and a power cycle, he was then underway.
Folowing all the stops under caution, the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac lost the lead, and dropped to second behind the No. 77 Mazda which is now back atop the standings.
The No. 6 Acura is now third, up from fifth before the round of caution stops, while the No. 31 Action Express and No. 5 JDC Cadillacs fell to fourth and fifth, respectively.
GTLM continues to be really close and a hard-fought battle between the leading No. 24 BMW and the pair of Porsches. The No. 912 Porsche is now second with the No. 911 down to third after the two 911s swapped places in the pits.
The mid-engine Corvettes complete the top five.
In GTD, the biggest mover in the pits was the Pfaff Porsche which dominated the early hours of this one. It was down to sixth in class early in the hour, but has gradually climbed back into contention during Lars Kern’s stint — up to second behind the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini which has come alive as the second half of the race draws closer.
Early in the hour, the most notable battle in the field involved the No. 48, Andrea Caldarelli, catching and passing Spencer Pumpelly’s Magnus Racing Lamborghini around the outside at Turn 1 after a lengthy tussle. The latter is now down to 11th after a driver change to John Potter from Pumpelly.
Third is the No. 57 Acura, the No. 12 Lexus sits fourth, and the No. 88 WRT Audi fifth.
The GTD leader board changes every hour, with so many teams running such different strategies. At this point in the race, it’s impossible to predict who will be in with a shot at the end because nobody has control…