DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Mixed fortunes found the Acura Team Penske squad during the opening hours of the Rolex 24 Saturday at Daytona Int’l Speedway.
It was a positive start for the No. 6 Team Penske Acura DPi entry shared by Dane Cameron, reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud and Juan Pablo Montoya, who found themselves leading at the four hour mark over the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT-24P and No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi.
It wasn’t all roses for the second Team Penske Acura DPi however.
In the only major incident during the opening hours of the race, Helio Castroneves, in the No. 7 Team Penske Acura DPi, crashed in the bus stop after contact with the No. 55 Mazda driven by Harry Tincknell.
The duo were running third and fourth overall and in the DPi class at the time of the incident. The No. 7 entry went to the garage for repairs while the No. 55 was given a drive through penalty for avoidable contact.
The No. 7 spent more than 30 minutes in the garage area as the Penske crew repaired the car, eventually sending Castroneves back on track more than 20 laps down.
Porsche has been in command of the GT Le Mans category, with the Porsche factory cars running first and second throughout the opening stages of the race.
The No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR – 19 shared by Laurens Vanthoor, Earl Bamber and Mathieu Jaminet was leading at the four hour mark, followed closely by the sister No. 911 Porsche driven by Nick Tandy, Matt Campbell and Fred Makowiecki.
Porsche was also in control of the GT Daytona class, with the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by Dennis Olsen, Zacharie Robichon, Lars Kern and Patrick Pilet leading by a comfortable margin early in the race.
The LMP2 class has thus far been controlled by the No. 52 ORECA LMP2 07 of PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports. The driver crew of Ben Keating, Simon Trummer, Nick Boulle and Gabriel Abury led the class by more than 20 seconds after four hours.