Petit Le Mans Hour 8: DPi title fight heats up

Richard Dole/Motorsport Images

Petit Le Mans Hour 8: DPi title fight heats up


Petit Le Mans Hour 8: DPi title fight heats up


With two hours to go and the temperature dropping, the outcome of the 24th Motul Petit Le Mans is far from predictable. Although the last hour saw the elimination of a BMW GTLM competitor and put the contention of the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Cadillac in doubt as battles throughout each class remain close.

As the hour ended, it was clear that the competitors, especially the No. 10 and No 31 DPi cars in the championship battle, were ready to fight to the finish. Filipe Albuquerque in the No. 10 Acura, running third, made a move from far back on Pipo Derani to take second and put them back into championship position. The No. 60 Acura remains in the lead with Juan Pablo Montoya at the wheel.

Twenty minutes into the hour, Connor de Phillipi went wide at the exit of Turn 12, through the grass and took out a couple of signs, leaving debris on the track. The next lap, de Phillipi pulled into the pits and behind the wall. It was unclear if whatever retired the car was the result of the off, or the cause.
The debris brought out another yellow, but most of the DPi cars pitted in anticipation before it came out. During that yellow, Scott Dixon brought the No. 01 back in with a loose brake rotor, the fix for which put the car down a lap.

Championship leader Laurens Vanthoor led GTD in the No. 9 Pfaff Porsche, pursued by Ross Gunn in the No . 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin, Trent Hindman in the no 16 Wright Motorsport Porsche and Zach Veach in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus.

The retirement of the No. 25 left the GTLM battle largely to Nick Tandy in the No. 4 Corvette and Kevin Estre in the No. 97 WeatherTech Porsche.
The GTLM title was decided as soon as the race restarted. Unfortunately the champs met an unfortunate end to their race in the big accident that took out a host of GT cars. Jordan Taylor made a visit to the medical center, and has a sore back, but will be OK.

“It’s amazing to get another championship for Antonio and I, two in a row,” said Jordan. “Amazing to finish off the GTLM era with two championships like this. Antonio was the winningest driver in the class, so I was proud to be his teammate.”

As for the accident, Taylor says the stack-up in Turns 10A and 10B on restarts has always been a problem, but was far worse today. As he came over the crest on the back straight in fifth gear, he saw cars stopped in front of him and had no place to go.

“When you have these events, such high-level, high-profile events, it’s unfortunate that you have a mix of classes that don’t mix well and makes the traffic and the racing so difficult. My first stint was kind of messy with traffic. We were restarting in the back for that restart; the stack-up effect is always there in 10A and 10B, and it was way more extreme today.”



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