DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Rolex 24 at Daytona has hit the 12-hour mark, with the No. 7 Acura Team Penske entry leading the field with 12 hours to go in the twice-around-the-clock classic.
Other than signaling the second half of the twice-around-the-clock endurance event, the 12-hour benchmark also awards points for the second segment of the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.
A caution for the No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia shortly before the end of the second segment jumbled up the running order as the DPi class leaders hit pit road seconds before the halfway point.
Despite leading the field into the pits, the positioning of the No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R. of Pipo Derani on pit road resulted in the team finishing the segment fourth and thus scoring the minimum two points.
Winning the second segment in DPi was the No. 7 Acura DPi co-driven by Ricky Taylor, Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi, but two consecutive runner-up segments for the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. has the Wayne Taylor Racing team leading the standings with two segments remaining.
The team and its co-drivers Jordan Taylor, Fernando Alonso, Renger van der Zande and Kamui Kobayashi lead by one point, 8-7, over the No. 7 Acura DPi and the No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R.
The Michelin Endurance Cup rewards points at intervals in the season’s four endurance races – the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
At the Rolex 24 at Daytona, points are given at the six-, 12-, 18- and 24-hour marks. The leading car and drivers in each class earn five points; second place earns four points, third place earns three points; and the remaining teams earn two.
In the LMP2 class, it was once again a DragonSpeed 1-2 with the team’s No. 18 ORECA co-driven by Roberto Gonzalez, Pastor Maldonado, Sebastian Saavedra and Ryan Cullen extending its lead to 10-8 over its sister No. 81 ORECA LMP2 by leading at each of the race’s two intervals.
The No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR inherited the race lead from the stalled Corvette in GT Le Mans (GTLM) giving the maximum five points to drivers Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy and Frederic Makowiecki.
Those five points were enough to move the team to the lead in the Michelin Endurance Cup standings over the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 and No. 4 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R teams by one point, 8-7.
In the GT Daytona (GTD) class, Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes AMG GT3 made it two consecutive segment wins extending its lead in the class to four points, 10-6, over the No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 and No. 29 Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 cars.
Among other notes:
- Trouble struck both Mazda Team Joest Mazda DPi prototypes in Hour 7. Shortly after the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P stopped on track and went behind the wall for a fuel leak, the pole-winning No. 77 Mazda RT24-P of Timo Bernhard suffered a mechanical failure that ultimately ended the car’s day.
The yellow flag brought out for the No. 77 allowed the No. 55 to return to the track after losing only two laps. Since the fuel leak, it’s been smooth sailing for the No. 55 team, with the car currently fifth at the 12-hour mark, one lap down.
- Alex Zanardi returned behind the wheel of the No. 24 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE as the Rolex 24 entered its 10th hour. Unlike his first pit stop, which was plagued by issues with a steering wheel connection, Zanardi had no issues the second time around. The car is currently running ninth in the GTLM class, four laps down.
- The GTLM-leading No. 3 Corvette C7.R slowed to a stop in NASCAR Turns 3 & 4 with a fuel pressure issue. It brought out the race’s eighth full-course caution. That number already eclipses last year’s mark of four.