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Sun Rises, GTLM Drama Unfolds with Six Hours to Go

Corvette, BMW face issues with six hours to go in Rolex 24…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Drama has unfolded in GT Le Mans class as the Rolex 24 heads into the final quarter of the twice-around-the-clock endurance enduro.

As the sun rose over Daytona, the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa is now out front, having rebounded from a three-lap deficit overnight due to an electrical issue.

But the story during daybreak has been in the GTLM class, which has seen further attrition, with the once class-leading No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR retiring with engine failure late in the 18th hour.

The No. 4 Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin restarted in the class lead but was forced to pit with a left-front puncture after contact was made with a Prototype Challenge car.

It gave the top spot to DTM ace Bruno Spengler in the No. 25 BMW Z4 GTE until the Canadian driver had an off at the bus stop chicane, handing the lead back to Corvette, but the No. 3 car of Ryan Briscoe.

Only three GTLM cars remain with a chance of victory after an overnight collision for the two factory Porsche North America entries, which have both since been repaired but lost significant ground.

Up front, Jordan Taylor enjoyed a titanic battle with the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford of Tony Kanaan prior to the most recent yellow, which saw the Action Express car retake the lead.

PC continues to be led by the No. 54 CORE autosport Oreca FLM09 of Jon Bennett, who is now two laps ahead of Tom Kimber-Smith’s No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports entry in second.

An off-course excursion for Brian Alder halfway through the 19th hour has seen a further delay for the No. 16 BAR1 Motorsports car, which had climbed back up to third in class.

Alex Job Racing’s Cooper MacNeil leads GT Daytona, ahead of the No. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R of Cameron Lawrence in second.

The No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 made an unscheduled stop in the 18th hour and has dropped to third, ahead of the sister No. 64 entry, which has also enjoyed time out front.

While the No. 93 Viper remains in contention, Riley’s No. 33 entry, which had been running inside the top-five overnight, lost significant ground due to a wiring issue.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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