Slicing the deficit to the leader to 25s, No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac driver Scott Dixon needed a caution flag to catch up with leaders with two hours, 30 minutes remaining in the Rolex 24.
Dixon got the caution, but not the way he wanted. The IndyCar champion cut a tire on the superspeedway banking and had to limp back to the pits, dropping him to fifth but remaining on the lead lap.
— IMSA (@IMSA) January 31, 2021
The leaders had stopped 13 minutes into the hour, beginning the set the scene for an anticipated final-hour shootout. The lead No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura pitted, with Ricky Taylor taking over for Filipe Albuquerque. The plan is for Taylor to run a double, with Albuquerque getting back in the the finish.
Mike Rockenfeller pitted the second-place No. 48 Ally Cadillac, putting Kamui Kobayashi in for a potential run of two hours, 48 minutes. Will the Japanese star drive to the finish? “Maybe we have a surprise,” Rockenfeller said.
The event restarted with 2h9m remaining, with a new player in the mix. Mired three laps down for much of the race, the No. 55 Mazda of Oliver Jarvis was back on the lead lap and challenging Ricky Taylor for the lead, only 0.555s back. Kobayashi was third (+1.364s), followed by Cameron (+3.208s) and Renger van der Zande (+3.793), who took over for Dixon in the No. 01.
There was also major drama in GTLM. Nicky Catsburg pitted in the lead in the No. 3 Corvette C8.R, but had trouble getting the car to refire. The problem dropped Catsburg to fourth. Teammate Alessandro Sims led in the No. 4 Corvette, followed by Alessandro Pier Guidi (+2.4325s) in the No. 62 Ferrari and Augusto Farfus (+4.293s) in the No. 24 BMW.
To compound the problems for the No. 3 Corvette, a drive-through penalty was assessed following the restart due to passing in the pit commit area — putting Catsburg 37 seconds back.
Mercedes-AMG continued to run 1-2 in GRD, with Maro Engel in the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes leading the No. 75 Sun Energy 1 Mercedes by 2.062s.
It’s Ryan Dalziel ahead in LPM2 in the No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA, while Spencer Pigot is now driving the LMP3-leading No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier.
Shortly after the 23rd hour, Daniel Serra drove through signage in the International Horseshoe, bringing out the 11th caution and setting the scene for another exciting restart.