Rolex 24 Hour 22: Alonso gets lead back before red flag

Image by Michael Levitt/LAT

Rolex 24 Hour 22: Alonso gets lead back before red flag

IMSA

Rolex 24 Hour 22: Alonso gets lead back before red flag

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The 57th Rolex 24 at Daytona is back under a red flag with two hours remaining…and two-time F1 world champion sitting in the overall lead in Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Cadillac.

Racing went green at the beginning of the 22nd hour, with leader Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 under heavy pressure by Felipe Nasr in the No. 31 Cadillac. Prior to the preceding caution, Nasr went around the No. 7 Acura Team Penske DPi. Taylor was able to hold off Nasr’s first two attacks — with slight side-by-side contact — before Nasr took the position with a move to the inside of Taylor exiting Turn 6 and entering the banking. Meanwhile, GTLM leader James Calado in the No. 62 Ferrari was under heavy pressure from Augusto Farfus in the No. 25 BMW.

Taylor pitted at 21:06, turning the car over to Alonso, who lost a position on the stop and fell to third behind Nasr and Rossi. The 15th caution then came out at 21:08 when Milos Pavlovic went off in the No. 47 PPM Lamborghini, knocking a sponsor sign onto the track.

Drama continued under caution as Henrik Hedman pulled off in the No. 81 DragonSpeed ORECA which has dominated the LMP2 category. He was on his out lap, and had lost a wheel. The incident gave the lead to teammate Sebastian Saavedra in the No. 18, which now leads its team car by two laps.

The restart at 21:26 was followed by the 16th yellow waving only two minutes later. Toni Vilander — fourth in GTD – demonstrated the risks of the severely limited visibility by slamming into the back of No. 540 Black Swan Porsche of Dirk Werner entering the chicane. Both cars were eliminated.

It was back to green at 21:38, with rain starting to intensify and the No. 31 Cadillac of Nasr leading the No. 10 of Alonso.

Joao Barbosa spun in the lapped No. 5 Cadillac, with the fourth-place No. 54 Nissan DPi of Loic Duval spinning and barely missing Barbosa.

In GTD, Daniel Morad took the lead in the No. 29 Montaplast by Land Motorsports Audi with a pass of Matt Campbell in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche.

Nasr went straight off in Turn 1 at 21:54, turning the lead over to Alonso. Four minutes later, Sebastian Saavadra had heavy front-end contact in the No. 81 DragonSpeed ORECA. Cameron Cassels was second, but running four laps down in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports entry.

That brought out the yellow at 21:58, with Richard Westbrook pitting the GTLM-leading No. 67 Ford for fuel. Then, the decision was made to bring out a second red flag at the 22:04 mark.

Alonso – who was actively campaigning for the race to be stopped — leads the No. 31 Nasr and No. 7 of Rossi overall; the crippled No. 18 of Saavedra leads No. 38 Cassels in LMP2; No. 25 BMW of Augusto Farfus leads GTLM; and Christian Engelhart led GTD in the No. GRT Graser Lamborghini.

Although the rain appears to have settled in for the duration, IMSA has informed the teams that it still aims to restart.

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