DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Report by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — F. Peirce Williams/LAT photo courtesy of IMSA —
The battle for the win in the 54th annual Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in slowly beginning to come into focus.
With six hours to go, and just after the 19th full-course caution of the race flew for the stopped No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports/Krohn Aviation Audi R8, Christian Fittipaldi roared to the overall lead during a cycle of pit stops and was scored as such in the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP at the three-quarters benchmark of the twice-around-the-clock endurance classic.
Five Prototypes still remain on the overall lead lap, with the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP (currently piloted by Jordan Taylor) running second, the No. 2 Extreme Speed Motorsports Honda-Ligier JS P2 (Pipo Derani) sitting third, Andy Priaulx’s No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford-Riley DP in fourth and Jonny Adam’s No. 31 Whelen/Action Express Corvette DP rounding out the front five.
The only major casualty of the race’s third quarter was Prototype Challenge (PC) leader Kenton Koch’s JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA FLM09, which popped one of the infield tire barriers at the conclusion of hour 15 while holding a 19 lap lead in class.
Koch was able to limp the car back to the pit area — where its front end damage was repaired — and only give up half of the team’s lead as he returned to the track with still a nine lap margin out in front of the rest of the PC contenders.
In GT Le Mans (GTLM), the Corvette Racing team finally found themselves out front at the end of a Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup segment, with the No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia heading the sister No. 4 of Tommy Milner.
The still-evolving GT Daytona (GTD) class fight saw Andy Lally and the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 assume the point among the stacked 22-car field for the first time at the benchmark, before losing it shortly after to the Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3-R of Andy Pilgrim.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network. Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 21-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for both the United Sprint Car Series and the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: [email protected]
Email Race Chaser Online: [email protected]
Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews