The Racers Group is well placed going into the final stages of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, with three of its Porsche GT3s running in the top five of the GT class at the 18 hour mark.

Topping the charts for TRG in second place was the #67 Monster Cable Need for Speed Porsche GT3 being driven at the 18-hour mark by Porsche factory driver Romain Dumas. The #67 team had an eventful third quarter, as the car being shared by Dumas, Bryan Sellers, Emmanuel Collard, Tim George Jr. and Spencer Pumpelly was once ahead of the entire GT field by more than a lap before a series of issues on pit lane dropped the car one lap down to the leaders.

Pumpelly, Collard and Dumas were able to work their way back onto the lead lap for a time, but a brisk pace by the GT-leading #70 Mazda left the car one lap behind with six hours to go.

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"It's a really good feeling to have the guys in the pits say, 'Just pace yourself at a certain number and run there,'" said Sellers after finishing a driving stint as the class leader. "It's nice not to have to play catch-up. Unfortunately, we got really caught out by that yellow flag there with the new rules and DP cars pit first. We hit the reserve and literally, ten seconds prior to us getting to pit lane, the yellow came out. We did a whole lap on reserve, and ten seconds before we're going to pit, the yellow flag comes out. Now, we can't pit, because pits are closed under the new rule."

One position behind the #67 machine and also one lap out of the GT lead was the #66 Marquis Jet/Resorts International/Mitchell Rubber/Total Lubricants/IPC Porsche GT3 being shared by Ted Ballou, Bryce Miller, Andy Lally and Richard Westbrook.

The #66 also led for a time during the third quarter and has been a front-runner virtually throughout the race, but Lally found himself in a one-lap hole to the leader at the end of 18 hours.

"We are hanging in there," he said. "This TRG Porsche is running well and my teammates are doing a super job. We need to hope for the best, because this is a little bit of a toss-up here. You've got guys going off in all directions and coming on all directions. There have been some close calls out there.

"You've got to drive at 95 per cent and leave a little bit on the road for reaction time to get out of other people's way. It wouldn't be Daytona if it wasn't like this. It's just what we welcome every year. I hate it when I'm in there, because I've got the white knuckle deal going on the steering wheel. This is what makes it all worthwhile at the end of this."

Rallying back from an on-track incident in the second quarter of the race was the #64 J Lowe Racing/TRG Globus/Adopt A Pig/CRG/Maxter/Rotax/MBA Group/F1 Air/SRS/NMT Porsche GT3 being shared by Jim Lowe, Jim Pace, Johannes van Overbeek, RJ Valentine and Tim Sugden. The #64 machine was fourth in the GT class and eight laps in arrears of the class leader.

"A race like this, you've got to remember, is 24 hours," Lowe said. "We had some bad luck in the first six hours or first eight hours, and what you have to do is remember that you've got a long race and a lot of laps left. The experience of guys like RJ and Jim Pace and Johannes and Tim Sugden reminds you to just take it easy and keep gaining places back.

"We've got a little chart made out here from where we started when we went behind the 8-ball and we're making up spots and laps. I'm going to be happy when I finish this race. We're going for a podium shot here. We're within shouting distance and there's a lot of racing left, no doubt about it."

After 18 hours, six of the seven TRG Porsches were still running. In 19th place was the #68 ACG Motorsports/Cohen Financial/Thomas Weisel Partners/Muffin Top Racing Porsche GT3 being shared by Michael Auriemma, John Mayes, Scott Schroeder, Brent Milner and Michael Gomez. The car was 58 laps behind the class leader with Gomez at the wheel.

"I have to give it to the crew," Schroeder said. "They've been working their ass off to keep us out on that track. Unfortunately, we've had two offs, and both very similar. They took off the front nose and the radiators. They really got us back on the track really quick. We didn't lose all that many laps, and we're still in it. We're pretty far back, but we're still in it. It's looking like we'll finish, so I'm pretty happy with that."

One spot behind as the #62 Burtin Engineering/Foametix/ Porsche GT3 in the hands of co-drivers Jack Baldwin, Claudio Burtin, Martin Ragginger, Scott Tucker and Ed Zabinski. Ragginger was driving the car at the end of 18 hours, and was trailing the class leader by 65 laps.

"It's been a great race," Tucker said. "We were doing really well until the clutch went out. It was purely a mechanical issue, but the overall experience is good and we plan on finishing the race."

The final TRG machine still running at 18 hours was the #65 Lavender Bridal Salon Porsche GT3 of Tom Atherton, Jason Daskalos, Jim Stout and Russ Oasis. Stout was in the car at the 18-hour mark, 71 laps back of the GT leader.

"We've gone through three nose cones, three noses, a couple of splitters and radiators," he said. "I had a stone go through our radiator. Luck hasn't been on our side. We're fighting the rain, so it's been kind of rough for us, but we're still on the track and that's better than some. We were trying to get into the top 10 originally, but after a couple incidents and a couple off-tracks in the rain, it's been a pretty wet experience, much wetter than we expected. We're hanging in there. We've got to have fun. If it wasn't so fun, you'd be sad."

The #63 J Lowe Racing/TRG The DigiTrust Group/Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing/Impremedia/Reigel Tuning/Adam's Polishes/La Vi Porsche GT3 of Pierre Borque, Duncan Ende, Hima Maher and Ron Yarab Jr. retired from the race in the first quarter with gearbox problems.