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Acura, Porsche Battle for Top Spot at Four-Hour Mark

Shank, Taylor, Penske tussle for overall lead at Daytona after four hours of racing…

Photo: Juergen Tap/Porsche

Acura and Porsche teams were embroiled in a four-car scrap for the overall lead of the Rolex 24 at Daytona after four hours of racing.

Meyer Shank Racing’s Colin Braun was only one second ahead of Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport driver Louis Deletraz, with the Porsche pair of Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell in close company.

MSR largely controlled the opening stages of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener, however the GTP field was kept close together by three Full Course Yellow periods.

The latest FCY occurred early in the fourth hour when Turner Motorsport’s No. 96 BMW M4 GT3 ground to a halt in the infield section of Daytona International Speedway.

Braun led at the restart from Jaminet, Deletraz and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Richard Westbrook, while the No. 01 Ganassi Cadillac of Sebastien Bourdais dropped from second to sixth during the safety car pit stops after getting blocked behind its teammate car while exiting.

Campbell overtook Deletraz into the Le Mans chicane to put two Porsche 963s behind the leading MSR Acura ARX-06, however Deletraz responded by performing a similar move on the Australian several laps later.

Deletraz’s charge didn’t stop there as the WTR Andretti driver made it an Acura 1-2 with a move on Jaminet. The top four closed in as Braun, who initially built a three-second lead after the restart, lost time by locking up his Acura’s right-front tire at Turn 5.

With four hours completed, Action Express Racing’s Alexander Sims was the highest-placed Cadillac V-LMDh driver in fifth.

The No. 25 BMW M Hybrid V8 returned to the track during the fourth hour after going behind the wall at the end of the opening hour with a hybrid system issue.

A BMW M Motorsport spokesperson told Sportscar365 that the BMW M Team RLL squad changed “several components of the hybrid system” since they were not immediately sure where the problem came from. The No. 25 BMW is currently 82 laps down.

Corvette Racing led the GTD Pro class with Jordan Taylor sitting just over half a second ahead of GTD leader Kenton Koch at the end of the fourth hour.

Koch overtook Roman De Angelis to put Team Korthoff Motorsports’ Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo to the front of GTD.

Taylor’s nearest GTD Pro competitor, The Heart of Racing’s Alex Riberas, had three seconds to overturn and three GTD competitors to pass in his No. 23 Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

Joao Barbosa took control of the LMP3 category, establishing a seven-second advarnage for Sean Creech Motorsports ahead of fellow Ligier team Andretti Autosport.

The LMP2 lead changed on the four-hour mark due to a pit stop cycle, however Josh Pierson and Scott Huffaker were battling for the top spot shortly before coming in.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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