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Karam Into Lead Before Four-Hour Mark at Daytona

Sage Karam out front at four-hour mark in Rolex 24 at Daytona…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Sage Karam, in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford, has moved into the lead just prior to the four-hour mark in the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona courtesy of a move that was reminiscent of his daring maneuvers at Sebring last year.

The 19-year-old made a big move on Lap 103, on the restart following the third full-course caution of the race to jump from third to first. He passed leader Jordan Taylor and Ganassi teammate Jamie McMurray in the sister CGR No. 02 Riley-Ford.

Karam pitted just shy of the four-hour mark to commence the fifth round of pit stops.

Taylor and McMurray held station behind him, with the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP fourth and No. 90 Racing Corvette DP fifth.

John Pew took over the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda and fell to sixth, with the No. 1 Tequila Patron ESM HPD ARX-04b of David Heinemeier Hansson in seventh.

The No. 2 HPD retired in the fourth hour with the team seeking to determine the root cause, while the DeltaWing DWC13 coupe was the first official retirement in the third hour, its gearbox the culprit.

PC saw each of the two BAR1 Motorsports and single No. 11 RSR Racing entries have unscheduled trips to the garage, leaving the No. 54 CORE autosport car (James Gue), No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports car (Sean Johnston) and No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports car (Mikhail Goikhberg) in podium positions.

CORE still leads PC at the four-hour mark with Gue, while Antonio Garcia (No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R) and Anthony Lazzaro (No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) lead GT Le Mans and GT Daytona, respectively.

GTLM witnessed a titanic scrap between the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR, pair of Corvette Racing Corvette C7.Rs, and No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia for the overall lead. Giancarlo Fisichella fell back though in the Ferrari after a spin under braking into turn 1 in the fourth hour.

In GTD, Ferrari moved into the lead with both Lazzaro and Rui Aguas (No. 49 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) each having their turn at the front.

The third full-course caution flew during the fourth hour when Jim Michaelian stopped on course, in-between oval turns 1 and 2, in the No. 19 Muehlner Motorsports America Porsche 911 GT America. Only just prior, Michaelian had spun at the first hairpin, and Sebastiaan Bleekemolen had to take evasive action to avoid him when he rejoined.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony

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