Petit Le Mans: Rebellion leads at halfway; Muscle Milk out (UPDATED)

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UPDATED (4:50 p.m. ET): The No. 6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03c has officially retired from the Petit Le Mans due to an overheating issue on the car that developed just before the race’s halfway point, opening the door for Rebellion Racing to successfully defend its 2012 Petit title.

“First of all, I have to say a very, very big thank you to all the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing crew – I mean, out of 10 races, you win eight, I think that’s pretty impressive, and a lot of it goes down to these guys in the pits, ” Muscle Milk co-driver Lucas Luhr told Fox Sports after the retirement.

“Today, unfortunately, we had an overheating problem and we had to stop, but we were in good shape. It’s not in our hands – sometimes, racing can be tough. But nevertheless, I thought we put up a good fight and a good show. It’s a shame the season ends like this, but sometimes, in racing you win and sometimes you lose. As a team today, we lose altogether.”

Romain Dumas was driving the No. 6 machine but at Lap 201 of the scheduled 394 laps, he pulled into pit road, where the Pickett Racing crew promptly took off the car’s engine cover to assess the situation. Eventually, the car was taken back behind the wall.

Prior to that point, Muscle Milk had maintained a slim one-lap lead on the Rebellion No. 12 Lola-Toyota, currently driven by Nick Heidfeld.

Extreme Speed Motorsports’ Scott Sharp (No. 01 HPD ARX-03b) led the P2 category at halfway, but suffered a setback in his bid to win the P2 driver’s championship after his team’s sister car, the No. 02 of Rob Bell, sustained suspension damage and went behind the wall.

Sharp’s rival in the P2 category, Level 5 Motorsports’ Scott Tucker, needs to finish first or second to lock up the title and held a six-point lead going into today’s race; Tucker is currently third in P2 with Ryan Briscoe in the No. 551 machine, who shortly before the five-hour mark was called for avoidable contact with the No. 91 Viper of Ryan Dalziel and was hit with a stop and hold plus 60-second penalty.

Respective class leaders at halfway also included:

GT – No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (Nick Tandy)

Prototype Challenge – No. 25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09 (Sean Rayhall)

GTC – No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Nelson Canache)