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Attrition has set in as the 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona hits the halfway mark at Daytona International Speedway. The halfway mark sees the race come down to three cars. The Mustang Sampling Cadillac, the Whelen Engineering Cadillac and the #7 Penske Acura.
Among the contenders that ran into issues during the overnight hours was the defending race champion #10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. of Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Running in the second position, van der Zande went behind the wall at the eight-hour, 30-minute mark after a tire puncture led to a damaged radiator.
The team was able to make repairs, but currently sits 10th, nine laps down.
The #6 Team Penske Acura DPi of Dane Cameron, Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud finds itself stuck in the garage requiring an alternator change.
The #22 ESM Nissan was running strongly before an apparent engine failure brought the car into the pits. The car has been taken back to the garage and has not returned since.
The GT Le Mans (GTLM) class has been all Ford with Chip Ganassi Racing’s pair of Ford GTs running 1-2 for the second consecutive segment. Last year’s Rolex 24 winners lead at the end of the second consecutive Patrón Endurance Cup segment with Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais in the #66 opening up a two-point lead over the #67 of Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon.
Moving into the lead in the GT Daytona (GTD) class was the #86 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 of Katherine Legge, AJ Allmendinger, Alvaro Parente and Trent Hindman. They lead a pair of Lamborghini Huracan GT3s with the #11 GRT Grasser Racing Team and #48 Paul Miller Racing entries.
The race was slowed by its second caution when the #52 AFS/PRI Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier LMP2 of Roberto Gonzalez spun in the race’s 14th hour and could not continue.
- The hometown favorite Spirit of Daytona Racing team was the first entry to retire from the race. The team went to the garage shortly before the nine-hour mark with an engine misfire that could not be diagnosed or repaired at the track.
- The #23 United Autosports Ligier LMP2 went behind the wall in the race’s 11th hour with a brake issue. Prior to that, Fernando Alonso raced from three laps down to within one lap of the leaders after the car suffered a tire puncture in the eighth hour. The team now sits 15th, 25 laps down.
- One of the contenders in the GTLM class ran into trouble when the #911 Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy went off course in the chicane and made contact with the tire barrier shortly into the race’s ninth hour. The car later returned to the track, but sits eighth in the nine-car GTLM field.
- The #2 Tequila Patrón ESM Nissan DPi also suffered mechanical issues with Ryan Dalziel going behind the wall with just over 14 hours remaining with a possible gearbox issue. Dalziel was running fifth.
- During the 11th hour of the race, the #29 car, which was leading the GTD class, was assessed a stop plus five minutes penalty for a violation of Attachment 2: Balance of Performance of the 2018 IMSA Sporting Regulations & Series Supplementary Regulations.
- With 407 laps completed at the halfway mark, the race is on pace to set the all-time Rolex 24 lap record. The Nissan Motorsports No. 23 R91CP covered 762 laps in the 1992 event.