ROLEX 24: Acura Team Penske lead at halfway mark


With 12 Hours complete in the 2018 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona Simon Pagenuad leads in the #6 Acura Team Penske from a Christian Fittipaldi in the #5 Cadillac who sits close behind.

Pagenuad inherited the lead from stable-mate Graham Rahal in the #7 Acura who spun out of the lead in the closing stages of the first half of the race, dropping to fourth.

Ford are still dominant in GTLM with the #66 leading in the hands of Dirk Mueller ahead of Ryan Briscoe in the #67, while Corvette’s #4 of Marcel Fässler is the next best car.

GTD is lead by the #11 Grasser Racing Lamborghini of Rolf Ineichen after both the #29 Audi and the #33 Mercedes lost time thanks to penalties after sharing stints up front in the first half of the race.

The #29 Land car copped a 5-minute stop and hold for a BoP violation, reported to have been an illegal fuel flow rate, pushing them down to ninth in class

Pit lane speeding was the cause of the #33 Mercedes’ drive through penalty, dropping them to seventh.

Notably missing from the head of the Prototype field is the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac, which currently sits tenth and 8-laps down after suffering damage from a puncture near the eight hour mark of the race.

Renger van der Zande, who was behind the wheel at the time, managed to limp the car back the pits, but lost over 15-minutes as the team carried out repairs behind the wall.

Punctures seemed to be the theme of the night, with the #23 United Autosport Ligier also enduring a puncture eight hours in, dropping them to 12th as Fernando Alonso took over the car from Phil Hanson in the stop.

Alonso eventually worked his way back up into the top six, until the car had to go behind the wall with a brake problem, his co-driver Lando Norris rejoining over 30-minutes later and 26-laps down.

In the GTLM class, the Fords were dominating out front with the #66 car leading the #67 ahead of Nick Tandy in the #911 Porsche, but before long that order changed too at Hour 9.

Tandy lost control of his Porsche at the bus stop chicane, slamming into the tyre barrier side on and damaging the RSR, however he managed to hobble the car back to the pits where the team immediately went to work in the garage.

The Brit rejoined the race with his patched up car, though 23-laps down and eighth in class after a lengthy repair.

The #29 GTD Land Audi received its stop and hold penalty with 14 Hours 30-minutes remaining, dropping them to ninth in class as the lead was re-inherited by the #33 Mercedes.

Meanwhile, the demise of the #2 ESM Nissan began at the 14 Hour mark with what would ultimately end up being a gearbox issue causing them two trips behind the wall in quick succesion.

The second Full Course Yellow of the race came shortly after for the #52 PR1 Matthiasen Motorsports Ligier which found the wall at the Horseshoe in the hands of Roberto Gonzalez.

The two Acuras nabbed the top two positions during the stops under FCY, with Ricky Taylor leading in the #7 from Pagenuad in the #6 on the restart.

30-minutes later, Pagenuad came under pressure from the #5 of Jaoa Barbosa, but as the latter pulled alongside on the high-banks to attempt a pass, through came the #31 of Felipe Nasr who made it three wide before out braking both Pagenuad and Barbosa to seize second place at the bus stop.

Barbosa also moved ahead into third, demoting Pagenuad to fourth as the sister #7 Team Penske Acura pitted out of the lead with Taylor being replaced by Graham Rahal behind the wheel.

13 Hours to go and things got worse for the Land Audi when Chris Mies pitted with issues, the team having to replace the rear wing on the car.

In the most recent round of pit stops, Rahal regained the lead from Pagenuad making it an Acura one-two heading into the second half of the race before the former spun, promoting Fittipaldi to second.

The race will end at 6:40am tomorrow, Sydney time, Australia, or 2:40pm Sunday local Florida time.