An up-and-down stint by Scott Dixon has ensured he remains in the hunt for a fifth Rolex Daytona 24 Hour victory, with two hours left in the 2021 event.
The Kiwi had been on the charge in his latest stint, desperately clawing back some ground after the No.1 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac was penalized for wheelspin during a caution.
Kevin Magnussen was in the car before Dixon, and the ex-Formula 1 ace had kept the team in race-winning contention as he duelled with Alexander Rossi for the top spot.
A caution to retrieve some errant debris bunched up the pack and Magnussen was able to get ahead of Rossi. However, he would then be sentenced a drive-through penalty for allowing his wheels to rotate while he was up on the jackstands.
Faced with a mammoth deficit to the leaders, Dixon immediately got to work once making a driver change with Magnussen.
Within half-an-hour, the six-time IndyCar champion had reduced a 40-second margin to just 25-seconds.
Dixon’s marathon stint was praised for his tenacious drive through traffic and his consistent speed, which put the No.1 back into contention for the win.
However, going along strong in fourth, Dixon then suffered a bizarre left-rear puncture. He was able to amble his way back to the pitlane without damaging any of the bodywork.
But the unscheduled pitstop demoted the team back to the rear of the DPi field.
The silver lining was a full course caution was deployed for a slow-moving vehicle, limiting the time lost for Dixon.
The Kiwi returned to the circuit before coming back to his pit bay the very next tour to swap out with co-driver Renger van der Zande.
Miraculously, the No.1 did not lose a lap, and a reshuffling of the order under yellow means the team remains on the lead lap.
The team is currently fifth on the road, but are just two-seconds behind a four-car dogfight for the win.
Earl Bamber remains 11th in class and is 34th overall in his GTD Porsche.