Harry Tincknell and Mazda took over the lead of the Motul Petit Le Mans thanks to a bit of luck followed by a bit of strategy.
Tincknell entered the pits around 28 minutes in, just before Dwight Merriman crashed the No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA LMP2 car coming out of Turn 12 and the pits were closed. When the pits opened, Tincknell followed the rest of the DPi field into the pits, stopped to top off fuel and emerged at the head of the field with the same fuel load as the rest. When the race restarted after a long yellow to rebuild the tire wall on the front straight, Tincknell proceeded to put a nice gap on the field and setting new fast lap for the race.
The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac in the hands of Felipe Nasr got shuffled back another position at the restart by Renger van der Zande in the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Cadillac. Meanwhile, Filipe Albuquerque was making progress forward, having improved a position before the yellow and another at the restart so that the two championship contending cars were running together.
The pit stops shuffled the Corvettes to the front in GTLM, the No. 3 in the hands of Antonio Garcia leading the No. 4 driven boy Nick Tandy.
Madison Snow in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini took over the GTD lead at the start, but gave it back to Robby Foley in the No. 96 Turner BMW during the pit stops. Running second while No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche runs sixth puts them in good position for the championship.
The No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche in GTD continues to have zero luck, as Trent Hindman made contact with the No. 42 Audi in Turn 10 and cut a tire on the first lap. Hindman didn’t make it into the pits immediately, and had to make a lap on the rim. Hindman lost two laps while limping his way around the 2.54-mile circuit and changing the tire, putting a serious dent in the team’s bid to take the Michelin Endurance Cup for the class. He got a lap back by staying out when the rest of the GT field pitted, stopping later during the yellow.
Two championships were sealed as soon as the green flag waved. Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor claimed the final GTLM title for Corvette. The LMP2 championship was clinched for Ben Keating and Mikkel Jensen in the PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA.
“It’s a great achievement for the team. Now we can focus on the Endurance championship and the race win,” Jensen said.