25 January 2015
Rolex 24: Taylor holds lead, rivals hit trouble
A series of caution periods keeps things close up front, but the Wayne Taylor Racing leads at the nine hour mark.
The Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette has recovered from earlier dramas to assume a comfortable lead nine hours into the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona, while the Chip Ganassi and Action Express cars ran into trouble.
Having lost time early on with electrical issues, cautions played the #10 car into contention only for another slow period to drop it back as it lost time with a pit-stop under the safety car, handing the initiative back to the Chip Ganassi Fords.
However, the emphasis of the race would change when the #02 car ran into problems and was forced to pit, while the #01 car – which had led from the hour three mark - would also lose time after contact with another rival.
Another lengthy caution handed the advantage to the Action Express Corvette, Wayne Taylor Racing and the MSR Ligier Honda, which crucially remained on the lead lap when it mattered and then came on strong in the hands of AJ Allmendinger, the American setting the fastest lap of the race during his stint.
However, Action Express' hopes of repeating its victory from 2014 appear to be slim now after the car stopped just before the nine hour mark, dropping it off the lead lap as it towed back to the pit lane. Though it is now running again, it has lost three laps.
Their misfortune has subsequently played those on the lead lap back into contention, with the latest wave of pit-stops on the nine hour mark bunching things up in the order of Wayne Taylor Racing in the lead, the #01 Ganassi Ford in second, the MSR Ligier in third, the VisitFlorida.com Corvette – which has enjoyed stealthy race so far – fourth and the #02 Ganassi Ford in fifth.
Elsewhere, the sole remaining ESM HPD ARX-04b is enjoying a solid run in sixth position, now ahead of the delayed Action Express Corvette and the Starworks BMW, which lost three laps earlier in the race when it spun and stopped at turn one.
In the PC class, the CORE car and the BAR1 Motorsport entry are currently embroiled in a lonely fight for the lead of the category, three laps clear of their rivals.
The GTLM class, meanwhile, remains closely matched with seven cars on the same lap and being headed by the #911 Porsche, the #25 BMW and the #62 Ferrari.
However, the #51 AF Corse Ferrari – which includes Le Mans winners Toni Vilander and Gimmi Bruni – is out of contention after Francois Perrodo spun and pulled back onto the track directly into the path of the unfortunate TRG Aston Martin.
Following the exit of the DeltaWing earlier, the #2 HPD ARX-04b, the Krohn Ligier and the #70 SpeedSource Mazda added to the Prototype exits.
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