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The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R. co-driven by Joao Barbosa, Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi held the lead over its teammates in the No. 31 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi as the Rolex 24 At Daytona headed into its final quarter.
With Fittipaldi at the wheel, the car was just ahead of Mike Conway in the No. 31 as the race ran under its fourth full-course caution at the 18-hour mark. The two Action Express cars had a four-lap lead over the No. 32 United Autosports Ligier LMP2 car, which was running third.
The No. 31 shared by Conway, Eric Curran, Felipe Nasr and Stuart Middleton has been in the top three at all three Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup scoring intervals thus far, leading at the six-hour mark and running third at halfway. With four points for running second at 18 hours, the team now leads the Prototype standings by one over the No. 7 Acura Team Penske team and two over the race-leading No. 5 team.
However, the No. 7 team – with drivers Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor and Graham Rahal – has fallen out of contention for the victory in the Rolex 24 when an on-track incident with the No. 31 sent the car to the garage for lengthy repairs. It was running ninth at the 18-hour mark, 21 laps behind the leader.
Acura Team Penske’s other front-running entry, the No. 6 Acura ARX-05 DPi co-driven by Juan Pablo Montoya, Dane Cameron and Simon Pagenaud, also encountered difficulties during the third quarter of the race. The car went to the garage for an alternator change before 5 a.m. ET, costing it several laps.
With 605 laps (2,153.8 miles) completed through 18 hours, the 56th Rolex 24 is on pace to break the overall lap and distance records. The current lap record was set in 1992 when co-drivers Masahiro Hasemi, Kazuyoshi Hoshino and Toshio Suzuki co-drove a Nissan R91 CP that made it 762 laps during the 24 hours. The distance record was set in 1982 by the race-winning Porsche 935JLP-3 co-driven by John Paul Sr., John Paul Jr. and Rolf Stommelen. That car made it 2,760.960 miles, 719 laps on what was then a 3.84-mile circuit.
The race has been slowed by full-course caution just four times through the first 18 hours. None of the full-course cautions have lasted more than five laps.
In the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, it’s been all Ford Chip Ganassi Racing for the first 18 hours of the Rolex 24. The No. 66 Ford GT team of Dirk Mueller, Joey Hand and Sebastien Bourdais – which is looking for a second consecutive Rolex 24 victory – held the lead ahead of its team car, the No. 67 Ford GT shared by Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon. Those two teams also lead the class Patrón Endurance Cup standings.
The No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R of Mike Rockenfeller, Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen was third at 18 hours and was the only other car on the GTLM lead lap.
In the GT Daytona (GTD) class, there were six cars on the class lead lap, headed by Adam Christodoulou the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3. Christodoulou’s co-drivers in the Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports entry are Jeroen Bleekemolen, Ben Keating and Luca Stolz. The team also took over the lead in the class Patrón Endurance Cup standings.
Madison Snow was second in GTD aboard the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3, followed by Trent Hindman in the No. 86 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3.
Live television coverage of the Rolex 24 is airing now on FS2. It will shift to FS1 at 10:30 a.m. ET, where it will remain through the checkered flag at 2:40 p.m. ET.
- Myriad issues have led to the retirement of the pole-winning No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi, as well as the No. 55 Mazda DPi and both the No. 2 and 22 Nissan DPis from Tequila Patrón ESM.
- All cars in both the GTLM and GTD classes were still running at the 18-hour mark.
- Among the six GTD cars running on the lead lap, five different manufacturers were represented, including Mercedes-AMG, Lamborghini, Acura, Ferrari and Audi. Lamborghini was the only manufacturer with two in the top six, the No. 48 machine running in second and the No. 11 GRT Grasser Racing Team entry in fourth place.