Rolex 24 Hour 3: Trouble for AXR, Zanardi BMW, Corvette

Image by BMW Motorsport

Rolex 24 Hour 3: Trouble for AXR, Zanardi BMW, Corvette

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Rolex 24 Hour 3: Trouble for AXR, Zanardi BMW, Corvette

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Rene Rast returned the pole-winning No. 77 Mazda to the lead during pit stops under caution, while the defending overall winning No. 5 Cadillac and the No. 24 BMW driven by Alex Zanardi both went to the garage with problems.

At the end of the hour, the race had just restarted following the second full-course caution. No. 77 Rast led the No. 6 Acura of Dane Cameron and the No. 31 Cadillac of Eric Curran. Class leaders were LMP2, No. 18 of Pastor Maldonado; GTLM, No. 62 Ferrari of Miguel Molina; GTD, No. 29 Audi of Christopher Mees.

Standings

The biggest drama of the hour occurred near the midway point. Christian Fittipaldi lost multiple laps on a pit stop while the Action Express team worked on an electrical issue that led to a tail light malfunction on the No. 5 Cadillac. After the team lost five laps while working on the car on pit road, the car went to the garage for additional work — and was still there at the end of the hour, 12 laps down.

Later on, Zanardi had trouble engaging his special steering wheel after taking over for John Edwards in the No. 24 Team RLL BMW. Once under way Zanardi drove a clean stint, but the car stalled on the pit exit road after Jesse Krohn took over, bringing out the second full-course caution of the race. He went directly to the garage once he got the car moving, finally returning at the end of the hour, seven laps down.

“They made a good strategy — not me, the team,” Zanardi said after his first career stint in the Rolex 24. “They had strategy that enabled us to get our lap back. Unfortunately, Jesse got into the car and had an electrical problem.” Honest as ever, the Italian also admitted it had felt “like the very first race of my life.”

The GTLM class has seen four of the nine starters experiencing problems. The No. 912 Porsche started by Earl Bamber and No. 67 Ford of Ryan Briscoe lost multiple laps in the opening hour.

A pit mishap saw the No. 4 Corvette hit the right front of its sister car, forcing a long stop during the caution for the No. 3 to address damage to the right-side suspension, with Antonio Garcia taking over for Jan Magnussen three laps down.

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