Rolex 24 Hour 23: Castroneves leads for MSR into the final hour

Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

Rolex 24 Hour 23: Castroneves leads for MSR into the final hour

IMSA

Rolex 24 Hour 23: Castroneves leads for MSR into the final hour

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A yellow with less than two hours to go shook up the Rolex 24 At Daytona after nearly five hours of green-flag running. Ricky Taylor in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura, which had pitted most recently among the DPi contenders, stayed out, while the others relinquished track position to top off fuel.

Taylor had track position, but soon after racing resumed was under attack by Tom Blomqvist in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura. Blomqvist attacked Taylor out of Turn 6 and took the lead going into the Le Mans Chicane. Taylor went back at him in Turn 1, but slid wide. That allowed Loic Duval in the No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac to close up and pass Taylor, but Duval slid backwards to fourth. He was the first taker for a full stop with 1h9m left, which afforded him less time to fuel before two stints to the end.

Taylor was the next taker for a full service. Blomqvist followed, with Helio Castroneves replacing him during a full service — which they did in slightly less time than the No. 10. The No. 31 was the last of the DPi contenders to pit, Conway exiting the car and Pipo Derani taking his place.

The top two contenders in GTD Pro — Mathiew Jaminet in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R and Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 2 KCMG Porsche — used the yellow to good effect first pitting in anticipation prior, both taking a splash of fuel. When the pits opened during the caution, they both returned to the pits for a full stop. Both cars should be able to make it to the end with one more short stop, and resumed their battle intensely, with Vanthoor attacking even on the outside of the Kink, which nearly cost him as he put two wheels off.

GTD leader Jan Heylen in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R was stuck behind the GTD Pro battle, and thus was unable to put much gap to Nicklas Nielsen in the No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3. The gap was steady at about 5s.

It’s a three-way battle again for LMP2, as the yellow brought the contenders all together. Colton Herta in the No. 81 DragonSpeed USA ORECA holds a small edge over Louis Delatraz in the No. 81 Tower Motorsport ORECA.

Leaders After 23 hours:
DPi: Helio Castroneves, No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian Acura
LMP2: Colton Herta, No. 81 Dragonspeed USA ORECA
LMP3: Felipe Fraga, No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier
GTD Pro: Mathieu Jaminet, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R
GTD: Jan Heylen, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R

HOUR 23 STANDINGS

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