Rolex 24 Hour 18: Green dawn

Images by IMSA

Rolex 24 Hour 18: Green dawn

IMSA

Rolex 24 Hour 18: Green dawn

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A stunning sunrise at Daytona signaled the start of the final quarter of the Rolex 24, as a record was broken for the longest green flag running in the race’s history.

Lap 602 saw 246 consecutive laps completed under green, breaking the previous record set in 2018. By the end of the hour that had been extended to 274 laps, coming over seven hours and 37 minutes. We remain on course for a new record distance as well, with only 16 laps under caution so far.

The sunrise greeted a comfortable-looking DPi picture for the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac, with Ryan Briscoe taking over duties from Renger van der Zande. The latter set a relentless pace to put a full lap on the rest of the field before the handover.

“Some of the other cars seem to be falling off a little bit and this one just kept going,” van der Zande said, describing his time in the car as flawless. It was a good job the team had enjoyed such a strong night, however, with Briscoe coming through the pit soon after getting in the car but not stopping as he managed to resolve a power steering issue.

There was another Cadillac in second place in the form of the No.5 JDC Miller entry being driven by Loic Duval, but after running in the top three for much of the night a flat left-rear tire for the No. 31 towards the end of the hour further hurt the Action Express Cadillac’s chances, having already dropped behind the Mazdas.

Ben Keating returned to LMP2 action for PR1 in the No. 52 after stints during the night in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports AMG in GTD. Keating had delivered an eye-catching stint for PR1 at the start of the race, but the car lost four laps sat in the pit lane for repairs after a suspected hit with the wall.

It was a disastrous spell for Keating as just a matter of moments later, the No. 74 coasted to a halt at the pit entry and needed pushing to its garage by the crew, losing ground in the GTD fight.

Porsche is starting to edge away at the front of GTLM with the No. 912 leading the No. 911 by a little over 13 seconds, and the paid half a minute clear of Jordan Taylor in the No. 3 Corvette as the earlier stop to change brakes left the No. 24 BMW a minute off the lead.

The No. 4 Corvette returned to action at 7 a.m., around eight hours after it had gone behind the wall due to a major oil leak. The car was never officially retired as the team looks to get as much mileage as possible to learn about the C8.R on its global debut.

All of that means the GTD race is the closest on track with six hours remaining, with Mirko Birtolotti hunting down Madison Snow in the No. 48 Paul Miller Motorsports Lamborghini, cutting the gap in the No. 88 WRT Audi to under 10seconds.

Of the 38 runners to start, only the two Aston Martin GTD entries are confirmed retirements, with the No. 4 Corvette back in the race and the No.19 GEAR Racing Lamborghini also not retired despite two hours and counting behind the wall.

HOUR 18 STANDINGS

 

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