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JDC-Miller Leads at Halfway With All DPi Cars in Contention

JDC-Miller Cadillac leads Rolex 24 at halfway with all seven DPi cars on lead lap…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac driver Richard Westbrook led the Rolex 24 at Daytona at the halfway mark as all seven DPi contenders continued to run on the lead lap.

Westbrook moved his No. 5 Mustang Sampling-liveried Cadillac DPi-V.R to the top by not pitting during a 12th-hour round of pit stops held under caution conditions, following stoppages for the No. 26 Muehlner Motorsports Duqueine D08 Nissan and the High Class Racing Oreca 07 Gibson in the infield.

The DPi battle has rarely had a quiet moment since the 1:40 p.m. race start on Saturday, with all seven runners in the top class having a turn in the lead at some stage.

No. 48 Action Express Racing Cadillac driver Mike Rockenfeller was second to Westbrook at the 12-hour mark, which marked the second Michelin Endurance Cup checkpoint of the event. 

Helio Castroneves was third in the Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05, ahead of Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais.

Several lead changes occurred in the 12th hour alone. Castroneves launched away from a restart after caution number 10 for LMP2 driver Steven Thomas stopping at Turn 6.

Earl Bamber then pressured Castroneves and made a brilliant overtake on the Indianapolis 500 winner in Turn 5, only for the positions to swap back again a few minutes later in the pits.

In another twist, Castroneves’ lead disappeared again when he picked up a drive-through for pit speeding.

Bamber handed the No. 02 Cadillac to Marcus Ericsson, but the ex-Formula 1 driver tagged Tristan Nunez’ Action Express Cadillac at Turn 5 resulting in both spinning around and the Ganassi driver receiving a drive-through.

That drama enabled Alexander Rossi to lead in Wayne Taylor Racing’s Acura, which stood in front until the 11th caution of the race during which Westbrook got ahead.

In LMP2, Mikkel Jensen led at the halfway mark for PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports with Racing Team Nederland’s Rinus Veekay and DragonSpeed’s Patricio O’Ward in close company.

The No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 Nissan headed up LMP3 with Kay van Berlo at the wheel, in front of Kuno Wittmer in the Duqueine operated by AWA.

The GTD Pro field has seven main challengers after a handful of cars including both factory-run Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTDs and BMW Team RLL M4 GT3s fell out of contention due to a mixture of technical problems and incidents.

Maro Engel overtook Alexandre Imperatori for the lead after the most recent restart to put the No. 97 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo on top.

Other key players heading in the second half include Imperatori’s KCMG Porsche 911 GT3 R, as well as the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 from Risi Competizione which has led at several stages.

GTD has been equally close with machinery from several different manufacturers featuring at the sharp end.

Ollie Millroy led on 12 hours for the Inception Racing McLaren squad, with Wright Motorsports Porsche driver Richard Lietz in second and Marc Miller third for the Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo2.

Winward Racing was also in the mix until a brake change temporarily compromised its track position, while the former leading No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari incurred a drive-through when Luis Perez Companc turned another car around at the Le Mans chicane.

Positions After 12 Hours

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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