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Blomqvist Returns MSR Acura to Front in Hour 10

Tom Blomqvist charge brings No. 60 Acura back into GTP mix as teams settle into night…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Tom Blomqvist made a surging drive from a safety car restart to return Meyer Shank Racing to the lead of the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the tenth hour of racing.

The No. 60 Acura ARX-06 dropped off the lead lap in Hour 7 when Helio Castroneves made an unscheduled pit stop for new tires after he lost control in the Turn 1 braking zone, skidding sideways and slipping down the GTP order.

The Brazilian, who was trying to avoid hitting the No. 31 Cadillac V-LMDh, worked back onto the lead lap but it took a Full Course Yellow period midway through the ninth hour to bring MSR back into the mix.

Blomqvist took the restart in sixth position but dispatched Richard Westbrook, Mathieu Jaminet and Jack Aitken into Turn 1 on successive laps.

The MSR driver then progressed into the lead by powering past the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac of Renger van der Zande on the run down to the Le Mans chicane.

Blomqvist’s sudden charge interrupted a period of Cadillac command at Daytona International Speedway that saw Action Express Racing set the pace during stints from Pipo Derani and Jack Aitken.

The No. 02 Ganassi Cadillac also cycled to the lead when Alex Lynn beat Aitken into the Le Mans chicane on the nine-hour mark.

Lynn then swapped out for Westbrook, who continued at the head of the field for half an hour until the fourth FCY of the race occurred.

The Heart of Racing and Vasser Sullivan battled at the front of the GTD Pro class in the lead-up to the FCY, with David Pittard defending from fellow British driver Jack Hawksworth for several laps.

Hawksworth cycled into the lead when Pittard handed The Heart of Racing’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3 over to Alex Riberas, while the WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo moved up to second.

Multiple GTD cars have remained close to the GTD Pro front-runners including the Mercedes-AMGs from Team Korthoff Motorsports and Winward Racing, and the Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo22.

The early LMP3 duel between Andretti Autosport and Sean Creech Motorsport was separated when the former incurred a penalty for Rasmus Lindh spinning around the Era Motorsport Oreca 07 Gibson.

The all-Oreca LMP2 class has been largely controlled by PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, which held a one-minute lead over the second-place TDS Racing car before the fourth FCY.

TDS Racing saw its challenge reduce to a single entry after Steven Thomas tangled with one of the Ferrari 296 GT3s, resulting in contact with the wall before the chicane followed by further car-on-car contact that left the No. 11 Oreca in the tire barriers.

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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