Rolex 24 Hour 17: Acuras flex muscle, running 1-2

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Rolex 24 Hour 17: Acuras flex muscle, running 1-2


Rolex 24 Hour 17: Acuras flex muscle, running 1-2


While Cadillac dominated day 1 of the 59th Rolex 24 At Daytona, it’s a new day with Acura running 1-2 through Hour 17 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship opener.

The caution flag waved for the ninth time only eight minutes into the new hour. Scott Huffaker went off in Turn 5 in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA, although he was able to refire shortly after the caution waved — leading to a 19-minute slowdown.

Helio Castroneves led at the restart in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05, closely followed by Dane Cameron in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura. Renger van der Zande led at the beginning of the hour, but a strategy pit stop dropped the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R into third.

Van der Zande worked his way back out front by the end of the hour, before a round of green-flag pit stops. After 17 hours, Castroneves led Cameron and Kevin Magnussen, who took over in the No. 01 Ganassi Cadillac. Pipo Derani was fourth in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac with Jimmie Johnson fifth in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac. Harry Tincknell was sixth, two laps down in the No. 55 Mazda RT24P.

“It worked out well at the restart,” van der Zande said. “We had a good change. It was a couple of tenths, maybe, but that makes the difference. It seems like a couple of cars are running quicker today than yesterday, but it’s OK. Still, seven hours to go. Keep it tight, keep it clean, and don’t make any big mistakes. That’s the key here.”

GTLM was also a five-car battle — two Corvettes (No. 4 Tommy Milner leading No. 3 Antonio Garcia), followed by two BMWs (No. 25 Connor De Philippi leading No. 24 Augusto Farfus), closely trailed by Davide Rigon in the No. 62 Ferrari.

GTD also had a terrific scrap, with Daniel Serra in the No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 passing Maro Engel in the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG for the lead near near the end of the hour. Jan Heylen was a close third in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911.

Kyle Tilley had a one-lap lead in LMP2 driving the No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA LMP2 07-Gibson, while Oliver Askew was four laps up in LMP3 in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320.