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(Credit: Phil Allaway)

Rolex 24 Update: After 12 Hours

The second quarter of the Rolex 24 at Daytona saw a number of contenders run into serious difficulties.  The most notable of these instances was when the No. 60 Ligier JS P2-HPD driven by Oswaldo Negri, Jr. blew an engine in the infield while leading overall.  The Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian entry is now officially out of the race.

With the Shank team out of the picture, the Corvette DP’s rose to the occasion, running 1-2-3-4 at one point.  Tequila Patron ESM is still very quick, but they’ve had to recover from what amounted to a one-lap penalty when team owner Scott Sharp ran the red light at the end of pit road.  With the help of the dazzling Pipo Derani, Tequila Patron ESM was able to get all the way back to the front and take the lead by the halfway point of the race.

Derani took the lead away from Action Express Racing‘s Scott Pruett five minutes before halfway.  The No. 5 has come back from an early encounter with the tire barrier in the International Horseshoe with Christian Fittipaldi behind the wheel.  The No. 31 for Action Express Racing was third quickest, followed by Wayne Taylor Racing‘s No. 10, the VisitFlorida.com Racing No. 90 and Ford Chip Ganassi Racing‘s No. 01.  Those six teams are the only cars on the lead lap.

In GT-Le Mans, Porsche North America has still run mostly flawlessly, but the competition has come back to them.  The second quarter of the race saw both BMW Team RLL and Corvette Racing each lead laps during the six-hour segment.  However, by the halfway point, it was Scuderia Corsa‘s No. 68 Ferrari F488 GTE that led the class over the two Porsche 911 RSR’s, Corvette Racing’s No. 3, the No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM and Corvette Racing’s No. 4.  The top 9 cars in the class were all on the lead lap, separated by 51 seconds.

In PC, the attrition continued.  Starworks Motorsport‘s No. 88 retired, along with the No. 38 from Performance Tech Motorsports.  However, the race at the top of the class closed up significantly.  With the help of wave-arounds during full course cautions, the JDC/Miller MotorSports No. 85 got back onto the lead lap.

At the halfway point, PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports with Nick Boulle still led, but JDC/Miller MotorSports’ Stephen Simpson was right on his tail.  BAR1 Motorsports‘ No. 20 entry was another 22 seconds back.  Fourth in class was the No. 26 from BAR1 Motorsports, 12 laps down.

GT-Daytona saw class leading Paul Miller Racing‘s Lamborghini with Bryce Miller at the wheel have contact with Change Racing‘s Justin Marks entering turn 1 just before 1 a.m. Both Lamborghinis spun and had damage, bringing out a yellow in the process.  The result was that both cars ended up in the garage for a significant amount of time.  The No. 48 team lost over 30 laps making repairs and was 20th in class at the 12-hour mark.

The shuffle resulted in Shane van Gisbergen assuming the lead for Alex Job Racing.  However, as the shuffling continued, the second Alex Job Racing entry (with Team Seattle) assumed control of the class.  Alex Riberas took the lead from Spirit of Race‘s Matteo Cressoni and was able to hold on to lead at halfway with the No. 98 Aston Martin Racing V12 Vantage GT3 in second, seven seconds back.  The top 12 cars in GTD were on the lead lap at the time.

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About Phil Allaway

Phil Allaway
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor. Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as Tony Stewart's Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions.

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