Fernando Alonso gave an indication of the form that took him to two F1 World Championships when he took over the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R during the fourth hour and charged into the lead of the 57th Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Taking over from Jordan Taylor in fifth position, he passed Eric Curran in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac, Harry Tincknell in the No. 55 Mazda Team Joest DPi and Dane Cameron in the No. 6 Team Penske Acura to take second. Alonso then set his sights on the race-leading No. 7 Acura of Helio Castroneves. A terrific battle resulted, with Alonso taking the lead two laps later and leading for the remainder of the hour.
“I had a great battle with Fernando, it was very comfortable, he gave me room,” Castroneves said after his stint. “He won Le Mans, he knows you don’t win the race now. But I was having fun.”
At the four-hour mark, Alonso was chased by Alexander Rossi in the No. 7 Acura, Tristan Nunez in the No. 77 Mazda and Tincknell.
Class leaders were Matt McMurray, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’s No. 52 in LMP2; the No. 911 Porsche of Frederic Makowiecki in GTLM; and Christopher Mies in the No. 29 Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi in GTD.
Christian Fittipaldi returned to the race in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac, but the car continues to have problems and is now 15 laps in arrears.
The third full-course caution came at the 3h50m mark when the No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi of Will Owen came to a stop at the entrance of the chicane.