The #5 Action Express Racing Cadillac of Felipe Albuquerque, Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa lead at the end of the opening hour of the 2018 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.
Albuquerque snagged the lead in the first round of pit-stops from the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac, stretching a 5-second advantage by the end of the first hour.
Tristan Vautier holds second aboard the #90, while Felipe Nasr in the #5 grabbed third as the hour came to a close.
In GTLM, Joey Hand leads in the #66 from Jan Magnussen, while the GTD top spot is occupied by Jefferey Schmidt in the #29 Land Audi.
At the start, pole sitter Renger van de Zande in the Wayne Taylor Cadillac lead the way down to Turn 1 on the opening lap as Helio Castronevas in second and Nasr in third duked it out behind.
Nasr in the #31, continued to challenge Castronevas in the following laps before making a pass around the outside of the Horseshoe on Lap 7, as Castronevas was then swallowed up by Albuquerque in the #5, dropping down to fourth.
Albuquerque made his move up into second place just before the half-hour mark, slipping up the inside of Nasr at Turn 1 as he then set his sights on the race leader, three seconds up the road.
Van der Zande pitted only moments later for fuel, with a flurry of stops for the rest of the prototypes coming a lap later. The #5 of Albuquerque however, missed the pit lane chaos and came in for fuel the next time around, taking only fuel and rejoining in front of van der Zande in the lead.
The GTLM stops came at the 45-minute mark, though things didn’t go smoothly at Chip Gnassi Racing with the #67 Ford enduring a lengthy time in it’s pit bay with an issue.
The sister #66 car of Hand held onto the lead as it rejoined while up front, the battle for second began to hot up between van der Zande, Nasr and a charging Tristan Vautier in the #90.
Vautier forced his way past in no-time, making an aggressive pass on van der Zande at Turn 1 before Nasr also moved into third at the end of the first hour.
While it’s Ford who lead in GTLM with the #67, Corvette occupy second and third with the #3 and #4 cars respectively and Alexander Sims fourth in the #25 BMW M8.
The first of the Porsches, the #911, sits fifth in class in the hands of Patrick Pilet ahead of the #912 driven by Laurens Vanthoor.
GTD is headed by the Audi of Schmidt, from Dominic Baumann in the #14 Lexus and Jack Hawksworth in the #15, while the top five in class is rounded out by the pole sitting #51 Spirit of Race Ferrari of Paul Dalla Lana.
The only car behind the wall at the end of the first hour is the GTD #58 Wright Motorsport Porsche after Robert Renuaer lost control on the formation lap in an unusual incident, heavily damaging the front left of the car.