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Taylor Tops Night Session After Contact with GTD Porsche

Ricky Taylor quickest in Roar night session following contact with GTD Porsche…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Ricky Taylor claimed the top spot in the night session at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 after bouncing back from an incident with a GTD car that resulted in rear-end damage to his No. 10 Acura ARX-05.

Contact between Taylor and an unidentified Porsche 911 GT3 R – the nature of which is unclear – caused damage to the Acura’s rear bodywork and wing that the Wayne Taylor Racing crew managed to repair before sending their driver back out on track.

Taylor then went on to scale the DPi order with a time of 1:34.592 set with just under 20 minutes left in the two-hour session, which got underway at 7 p.m. ET.

The American driver banked the fastest lap mere moments before a red flag occurred after a clash between the No. 63 TR3 Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo and the Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 at the Bus Stop.

That marked the third and final red flag of the session, with the other stoppages being for a Muelhner Motorsports LMP3 car coming to a halt at the Bus Stop and debris at Turn 6 after a moment for LMP2 competitor John Falb.

Helio Castroneves led the early running in the Meyer Shank Racing Acura DPi but was closely followed by Pipo Derani and Alex Palou in Cadillac DPi-V.Rs run by Action Express Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing.

Derani’s co-driver Mike Conway then surpassed Castroneves’ initial 1:34.799 benchmark with a time of 1:34.717 that the reigning FIA World Endurance champion posted after 50 minutes of running.

The second hour featured no major improvements in the DPi class until Palou’s co-driver Scott Dixon and Taylor went second and first in quick succession later on.

Dixon ended up only 0.019 seconds behind Taylor, with Conway settling for third in the No. 31 Whelen-backed Cadillac.

Early pacesetter Castroneves was fourth-quickest, ahead of Jose Maria Lopez in the No. 48 Action Express Cadillac and Loic Duval of JDC-Miller Motorsports.

Both Acura ARX-05s encountered trouble during the night session, as the No. 60 Meyer Shank machine experienced a gearbox problem when Simon Pagenaud left the box after taking over from Castroneves. The team elected to sit out the rest of the evening.

Three-time DTM champion Rene Rast set the tone in LMP2 with a time of 1:35.874 at the wheel of G-Drive Racing’s No. 68 Oreca 07 Gibson.

The Audi ace finished just under two-tenths ahead of Peugeot LMH signing Mikkel Jensen, driving for PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports.

Trenton Estep bagged the leading LMP3 time for the Forty7 Motorsports Duqueine squad, meanwhile.

Long before receiving a drive-through penalty for Marco Mapelli’s contact with the Inception McLaren, the No. 63 TR3 Racing Lamborghini submitted the fastest time in GTD Pro with Mirko Bortolotti at the helm.

The Italian reeled off a 1:45.757 in the opening minutes and remained at the top of the leaderboard until the 9 p.m. checkered flag.

Laurens Vanthoor climbed to second in GTD Pro – and second in the overall GT order – with a 1:45.886 in the KCMG Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Paul Holton was the top driver in the standard GTD class and ended up third outright in the production-based ranks driving the McLaren run by his own Crucial Motorsports team.

Holton posted a 1:45.965 to emerge ahead of the Porsches of WeatherTech Racing and Wright Motorsports respectively.

Following a mid-Roar Balance of Performance change, the factory-run BMW M4 GT3s and Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTDs remained near the foot of the times during the night session, with the two brands propping up the GTD Pro classification.

Two cars did not take part in the night session. Gradient Racing continued to repair its Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 after a crash on Saturday morning, while Team TGM opted to rest its Porsche ahead of Sunday’s Rolex 24 at Daytona qualifying race.

RESULTS: Session 4

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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