A right rear puncture on the No.10 Konica Minolta Cadillac – the third puncture to hit the team thus far – dropped Wayne Taylor Racing out of contention in the ninth hour of the Rolex 24.
With pole-winner Ranger van der Zande at the wheel and running in third place, the 2017 race-winning car suffered significant damage to the right rear corner as the tire delaminated on the run to the Bus Stop. Once van der Zande brought the car back to the pits, water poured from the right-hand side and the team had to retreat to the garage for repairs that dropped the car 10 laps down before returning to the track.
Team owner Wayne Taylor was at a loss to explain the repeated punctures.
“No, really don’t know because we made a specific thing that we would not run over the curbs anywhere, especially in the Bus Stop, and this is now the third failure,” he told FOX Sports.
“And it’s not even as if the tires have been well worn – most people are double-stinting tires, we started double-stinting as well, that’s the nature of the fact that there’s not enough tires for this event. But it’s something that I certainly have no idea what’s going on.”
The issue dropped the No.10 away from the lead battle between the No.5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R – being driven by Joao Barbosa – that was leading the No.7 Acura ARX-05 with Ricky Taylor 30 seconds adrift on track.
With punctured tires also affecting Mazda Team Joest and the No.22 ESM Nissan Onroak DPi, Continental Tire was quick to release a statement defending its product.
“Teams are pushing the envelope with low pressure and aggressive camber,” the company said. “When this happens, and teams are not within the parameters we set forth, problems can occur. Especially double stinting a set of tires.
“These are the same dry tires we’ve used for five years without issue. The teams within the parameters are double stinting tires with no issue.”
There was also heartbreak for another Cadillac as the No.90 Spirit of Daytona Racing drove straight behind the wall with a misfire, with it yet to emerge after 20 minutes by the end of the ninth hour as the team investigated the engine issue.
In the GTLM class, the two Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Force cars were still dominating, with Jamie Hand in the No.66 remaining just a second clear of Richard Westbrook. There was a crash right at the end of the hour as Nick Tandy went off in the No.911 Porsche at the Bus Stop, carrying too much speed which resulted in a heavy hit into the tire barrier. Tandy was able to return to the pits but had damaged both the front and the rear of the car.
GTD continues to be headed comfortably by the No.29 Montaplast Audi R8 LMS GT3, with Jeffrey Schmidt still more than a lap clear, with the No.33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports GT3 climbing into second place with Ben Keating at the wheel.
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