Bourdais grabs the lead after the opening hour

Pole-sitter Pipo Derani got a clean start in the No. 31 Cadillac V-Series.R to comfortably lead entering Turn 1.

It didn’t take long for trouble to strike behind, though, as the No. 62 Ferrari 296 GT3 of Davide Rigon was involved in contact at the GTD and GTD Pro start and ended up off course in Turn 3. Fortunately, he was able to continue on and the race stayed green.

Only a few moments later Pfaff Motorsports’ No. 9 McLaren 720S GT3 EVO of Oliver Jarvis slowed with a flat tire, which led to an early pit stop only a few minutes later when he made it back around the 17-turn, 3.74-mile circuit.

Another McLaren, this time Inception Racing’s No. 70 GTD machine driven by Brendan Iribe, suffered a puncture in Turn 13 and needed to pit for service.

Meanwhile, Vasser Sullivan’s two Lexus RC F GT3 entries jumped out to lead both GTD Pro and GTD classes with Jack Hawksworth and Parker Thompson, respectively.

Derani remained out front by roughly 1s over Bourdais in the No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R through the opening 20 minutes.

Only a few minutes after the No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR ORECA 07 LMP2, driving by George Kurtz, slowed down with a puncture. Once he finally made it around to the pits, the team received a penalty for too many crew members going over the wall.

While the issues were happening for Kurtz, there was a lead change in LMP2 as Ben Keating’s No. 2 United Autosports USA machine propelled by team-mate Daniel Goldburg moved to the front and quickly built up a 4s lead.

It only 30 minutes into the endurance classic for the first retirement as the No. 17 AWA Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R dropped out with apparent alternator issues.

The first full course yellow came out 38 minutes in for debris, which simmered a battle for the overall lead that was heating up between Derani and Bourdais, who had closed to within a tenth as they navigated traffic.

All GTP cars opted to pit, with the No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963, driven by Phil Hanson, receiving a new rear clip. Derani led off pit lane, followed by the Louis Deletraz in the No. 40 Acura ARX-06 for Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti. Bourdais dropped to third.

During the pit stops for LMP2, Nick Boulle was able to come out with the lead in the No. 52 Inter Europole by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA 07. Keating dropped to second, with Goldburg third.

Both of the Vasser Sullivan entries remained in the lead, but Frankie Montecalvo replaced Thompson in the team’s No. 12 machine.

The race finally resumed two minutes shy of the completion of the first hour, and Bourdais was able to quickly get by Deletraz to reclaim second.

Shortly after the end of the opening hour, Bourdais sent his Ganassi-prepared Cadillac up the inside of Derani’s AXR machine to claim the lead of the race for the first time.

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