A mega stint by Scott Dixon has put the No.1 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi into leading contention as the ninth hour falls for the 2021 Rolex Daytona 24 Hour.
Dixon was sidelined for nearly five hours before getting into the cockpit for the first time of the twice-around-the-clock endurance event.
Before then, teammates Kevin Magnussen and Renger van der Zande had steered clear of trouble and were involved in a heated brawl for the race lead.
A Cadillac 1-2-3-4 was the headline for most of the first quarter of the race, with different teams and drivers all having a share at fronting the mammoth 50-car field at some point.
When Dixon did eventually get behind the wheel at 8.40 pm local time, the Kiwi immediately made his mark. Hunting down an 11-second deficit to erstwhile leader Sebastien Bourdais, Dixon put the Chip Ganassi machine at the front for the first time.
After nearly five hours of green flag running, the race was eventually put under caution to recover a stricken GTD Lamborghini.
Dixon’s steady restarted was not enough to stop Loic Duval and Kamui Kobayashi getting past at Turn 1.
Duval would later be dealt a stop-go-penalty for jumping the restart, elevating Dixon back up to second. He would hold that position until handing the car over to experienced teammate van der Zande.
As the clocked ticked over 15hrs remaining, Jimmie Johnson, who is driving with Kobayashi, holds a 0.9s lead over van der Zande.
A switch of position looks imminent, given the rapid pace of van der Zande.
The other Kiwi in the field is Earl Bamber, who is running 11th in class and 33rd overall.
Bamber is currently in the car and has recently posted his personal best lap time as he eats into a 25-second deficit to the next car ahead, which is Ross Gunn in an Aston Martin Vantage GT3.