Petit Le Mans Hour 4: Major incident hits GTLM, GTD contenders

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Petit Le Mans Hour 4: Major incident hits GTLM, GTD contenders

IMSA

Petit Le Mans Hour 4: Major incident hits GTLM, GTD contenders

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A major incident just after the fifth hour began took out a GTLM and several GTD contenders.

As the field was accelerating for a restart, some cars were up to speed on the back straight as the leading DPi cars were seeing the green, but other cars weren’t. The accident claimed the No. 3 Corvette in GTLM, and several GTD cars, including the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus that had led the class, the No. 32 Gilbert Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG, the No. 19 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini, the No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren, the No. 42 NTE Sport Audi R8 and the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG.

All drivers were reported OK, and while a couple of cars drove away from the scene, they immediately headed behind the wall when they reached the pits.

In addition, during the yellow, the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW, certainly a contender for GTD victory, pulled into a closed pit, then went behind the wall, and may have been involved in the incident as well. Unfortunate, as Aidan Read, who had just handed the car over to Bill Auberlen, had been quite pleased with the car’s performance.

“It was so much fun. I felt like I was in the zone. The Turner BMW has been so good. It’s such a joy to drive; it’s fast in race conditions, in the right places and consistent. Robby gave us the car at the front,” he said before the incident.

The fourth hour of the race, and the first part of the race where Michelin Endurance Championship points are scored, ended under a yellow flag for the Rodrigo Pflucker’s No. 7 Forty7 Motorsports in the tire wall, apparently the result of a mechanical failure. It was he restart for that yellow when the incident occurred.

Early in the fourth hour, the first real trouble struck one of the frontrunning DPi cars. Oliver Jarvis had just gotten in the car when it came back into the pits and the engine cover came off to fix an electrical problem. The team got the car back out, but three laps down. Jarvis got a lap back with the Pflucker yellow, but still has little chance of fighting for the victory, a shame given the speed that the No. 55 had been showing.

Ricky Taylor leads in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura leads from Loic Duval in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac and Mike Conway in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac.

The surprise so far, given this issues it has had all weekend, is that the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche is in contention for the GTD win, leading the class in the hands of Pat Long as the fourth hour ended. Roman de Angelis was running second in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin. The championship-leading Porsche from Pfaff Motorsports, currently in the hands of third driver Lars Kern, is third.

The LMP2 battle seems to be boiling down to the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA and the No. 8 Tower Motorsport ORECA. The others have fallen a lap behind.

HOUR 4 STANDINGS

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