Fernando Alonso took the lead of the Rolex 24 At Daytona during a round of pit stops moments before the two-hour mark. Alonso, driving the No.23 United Autosports Ligier JSP217, was running second before his second pit stop after starting 13th. He turned the car over to Phil Hanson, who is now ninth.
Cadillacs held the top three positions after two hours, with new drivers at the wheel. Joao Barbosa led in the No.5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, followed by Matt McMurry in the No.90 Spirit of Daytona entry and Ryan Hunter-Reay in the No.10 Konica Minolta Cadillac.
Pipo Derani was fourth in the No. 22 ESM Nissan Onroak DPi, followed by Juan Pablo Montoya in the No.6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05.
Joey Hand continued to pace GTLM in the No. 66Ford GT, while Jeffrey Schmidt was at the head of GTD in the No.29 Montaplast Audi R8 LMS GT3.
The No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 had a fire below the car (pictured below) when fuel ignited during a pit stop with Santiago Creel at the wheel. The blaze was quickly extinguished. Miguel Molina qualified second in the car and led throughout his opening stint. The crew continued to work on the car at the two-hour mark.
— Tequila Patrón ESM (@PatronESM) January 27, 2018
Mazda was the first Prototype team to experience problems. Both cars started at the back of the Prototype grid for precautionary engine changes made earlier this week. Jonathan Bomarito led twice for two laps during rounds of green-flag pit stops in the No.55 Mazda Team Joest RT-24P. Harry Tincknell took over but the car lost a front wheel following the second pit stop, resulting in a 45mph lap around the track and the loss of three laps. Tincknell reported electrical issues later in his stint. The No.77 also experienced gearbox issues, having difficulty downshifting, with Tristan Nunez five laps down.
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