The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team’s bid to win a second consecutive Rolex 24 At Daytona is off to a solid start as the team held the lead at the one-quarter distance Saturday evening.
Renger van der Zande held a 7.668-second lead over Filipe Albuquerque’s No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R at the end of six hours of racing on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway circuit. Van der Zande and Kamui Kobayashi are looking for their second consecutive Rolex win in the No. 10 machine with a pair of new teammates for 2020, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon.
Their lead at six hours also earned the No. 10 team the maximum five points toward the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup. The No. 31 team has four points, and the No. 6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 driven at the six-hour mark by Simon Pagenaud has three points for running third at the quarter mark.
The pole-winning No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT-24P shared by Oliver Jarvis, Tristan Nunez and Olivier Pla led the lion’s share of the laps in the first six hours but was running fourth after six hours. It’s still almost anybody’s race in the lead Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class, with seven of the eight cars in class still running on the lead lap.
The LMP2 leader at six hours was the No. 52 PR1-Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA co-driven by Gabriel Aubry, Ben Keating, Simon Trummer and Nick Boulle. Aubry was at the wheel at the end of the first six-hour interval and led Nicolas Lapierre in the No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks ORECA by a full lap.The No. 52 – which now leads the LMP2 Michelin Endurance Cup standings – dominated the first six hours, leading almost every lap in the race. Harrison Newey was third in LMP2 aboard the No. 81 DragonSpeed USA ORECA.
In GT Le Mans (GTLM), Jesse Krohn headed the field in the No. 24 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE he shares with John Edwards, Augusto Farfus and Chaz Mostert. The No. 24 was 0.889 seconds ahead of Nick Tandy in the No. 911 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR, with the No. 912 Porsche of 2019 GTLM co-champion Laurens Vanthoor in third.
The No. 24 found its way to the head of the field in the fifth hour after the pair of Porsches dominated the proceedings early on. As a result, they’re also atop the Michelin Endurance Cup standings.
In the GT Daytona (GTD) class, Marco Mapelli topped the class in the No. 44 GRT Magnus Lamborghini Huracán GT3 by 4.565 seconds over Cooper MacNeil in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3. That gives Mapelli and co-drivers Andy Lally, John Potter and Spencer Pumpelly the early Michelin Endurance Cup lead also.
Running third at six hours was another Lamborghini, the No. 58 Paul Miller Racing Huracán with Andrea Caldarelli at the controls. All of the top-three cars took turns at the head of the field in the fifth and sixth hours after the pole-winning No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R dominated the early going with drivers Zacharie Robichon, Dennis Olsen, Lars Kern and Patrick Pilet.
However, the No. 9 slowed dramatically and fell down the order but was the last car on the GTD lead lap at the end of six hours running in 11th position.
NOTES:– An incident in the bus stop between Harry Tincknell in the No. 55 Mazda Team Joest DPi and Helio Castroneves in the No. 7 Acura DPi in the fourth hour sent the No. 7 into the tire barrier. Castroneves subsequently brought the car into the garage for lengthy repairs, while Tincknell continued but was given a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility. Castroneves eventually rejoined the race after losing 23 laps to the leader.
– The race’s first full course caution came out in the fifth hour of the race for an incident involving the GTD cars of Eric Lux in the No. 47 Precision Performance Motorsports Lamborghini and Alex Riberas in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin. The cars made contact near the pit entry and both slid through the infield grass. Lux got the No. 47 running and made his way into the pits, but the No. 23 suffered substantial front-end damage and could not be driven back and later retired from the race.
– There will be no three-peat for the No. 11 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini squad as the car went to the garage for an extended stay with mechanical issues in the fourth hour. Franck Perera, who won this race with the team two years ago, brought the car in with fuel pressure problems just four laps after a pit stop.