Rolex 24, Hour 23: Cautions set up final-hour drama

Richard Dole/Lumen

Rolex 24, Hour 23: Cautions set up final-hour drama


Rolex 24, Hour 23: Cautions set up final-hour drama


A series of full-course cautions set up high drama for the finish of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The first, for the No. 64 TGM/TF Sport Aston Martin off course, came with 1h55m left in the race, bringing out a long yellow. The restart was short lived, although fraught with action in the GTD PRO battle between Ben Barnicoat (No. 14 Lexus), Antonio Garcia (No. 3 Corvette) and Maro Engel (No. 79 Mercedes-AMG).

That first caution brought the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura, which had been two laps down thanks to a broken oil filler, back onto the lead lap, with Filipe Albuquerque freshly installed in the car.

The second yellow came for Nicolas Lapierre in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA spinning and stalling, ending that team’s dream comeback from a lap down to contest for the LMP2 victory.

After the second restart with 1h36m left, Albuquerque quickly moved past Renger van der Zande in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac, which lost a position in the pits to Earl Bamber in the No. 02 sister car. A few laps later, he moved into second. It was now Tom Blomqvist in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing leading Albuquerque, a familiar sight from last season. The GTPs will have one more pit stop to set up the fight to the finish.

The GTD PRO fight was raging, Engel ending up ahead of Hawksworth and Garcia as the final hour began. More significantly, while they battled, Philip Ellis in the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG made his way through the GTD PRO leaders to get behind Marco Sorensen in the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin, erasing Sorensen’s GTD PRO buffer. Marvin Kirchoffer in the No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S was in third behind the GTD PRO leaders, trying to hold off a host of GTD cars behind.

Class leaders after the 23rd hour:

GTP: Tom Blomqvist, No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06

LMP2: Job Van Uitert, No. 35 TDS Racing ORECA

LMP3: Wayne Boyd, No 17 AWA Duqueine

GTD PRO: Maro Engel, No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3

GTD: Marco Sorensen, No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage