Hour four began with an almost-immediate caution, as serial LMP2 spinner Lance Willsey lost control again in the sole #33 Ligier approaching Turn 6 and almost took out Colton Herta’s then second-placed #10 WTRA Acura.
Under the yellow, Dixon stayed out while Aitken pitted – giving himself a 30% energy advantage. They held a Caddy 1-2, with Yelloly best of the race after a forceful pass on Hartley’s #10 Acura at the Bus Stop.
Through the fifth hour, the Caddy pairing was pursued by the BMW duo, with Acura and Porsche seemingly happy to sit back with a watching brief, as teams opted to double-stint tires to ensure fresh rubber is available for the later hours of the race tomorrow.
Two further yellows in that period, the first caused by the #33 Ligier again that ground to a halt, and a second when the #023 Triarsi Ferrari GTD car shed its rear bodywork and the #40 WTRA Acura of Jordan Taylor, which has been affected by a power steering issue, suffered a spin.
When the race finally got going again, Porsche’s Campbell took the race by the scruff of the neck, surging to lead – passing Maxime Martin’s BMW and Tom Blomqvist’s AXR Cadillac on successive laps.
Campbell bolted clear in perhaps the strongest challenge yet to Cadillac’s form around the 3.56-mile road course.
The Ganassi Cadillac’s strategy fell foul of the first yellow of Hour 5, the car requiring a longer stop than its rivals having lost its time advantage on track, so IndyCar champion Alex Palou’s P1 turned to P6 – leading to a steady climb back up the order.
Campbell led by 12s over Derani at the six-hour mark, ahead of van der Zande, who jumped in after Palou. The BMWs and Acuras are giving chase behind.
Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images
LMP2 battle at the start
Crowdstrike leads white-hot LMP2 battle
The #04 Crowdstrike by APR and #2 United Autosports ORECAs continued their entertaining duel for the lead of the class, with an alternating cast. Toby Sowery and Nino Pino relayed to Malthe Jakobsen and Ben Hanley respectively, but the battle intensified.
Amazingly, they even ran side-by-side through the high-speed infield kink at one point – with just millimetres between them – and Hanley coming out on top with a brave move.
Notably getting in on the act, however, was ex-F1 star Felipe Massa led in Hour 5, who led on his series debut for Riley.
At the Hour 6 mark, Jakobsen led with Felipe Fraga in for namesake Massa running second, as Hanley fall back to sixth.
Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images
#1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3: Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow, Neil Verhagen, Sheldon van der Linde
Disaster for McLaren, BMW heads GTD field
Hour four of the race started with huge drama, as the Pfaff Motorsports McLaren 720S of Marvin Kirchoffer, that had been leading the class, was forced to tour back to the pits with a front-right upright problem that required a trip to the garage.
Aston Martin took its first turn in the class lead, as Roman De Angelis – which started from near the back of the grid – hit the front for a while, ahead of the #77 AO Racing Porsche that had started at the very front of the pack.
But it was Bryan Sellers in Paul Miller Racing’s BMW M4 that led the way after six hours, ahead of Antonio Fuoco’s Cetilar Racing Ferrari and the Korthoff Mercedes of Kenton Koch.