Hour 5: Pla puts Shank into the lead

Ganassi’s impressive 02 Riley-Ford has conceded the lead of the Rolex 24, after Jamie McMurray’s restart error saw it drop to the back of the field.

Ganassi’s NASCAR ace McMurray bravely took the lead down the inside of Jonathan Bomarito’s Mazda on a restart following the DeltaWing-induced yellow, but then understeered and was tagged by Tommy Milner’s GTLM Corvette #4 at the very next corner. He then had to sit still until all cars had streamed by before he could boot the car around and continue.

That left Bomarito sitting pretty in the lead, but with Oliver Pla (Shank Ligier) keeping him in sight ahead of the No. 31 Action Express Corvette DP of Jonny Adam. Pla eventually took the lead after 4h15mins, but Bomarito’s pace stayed strong.

Adam, however, came under increasing pressure from Brendon Hartley in the other Ganassi Riley-Ford, the #01.

However, after the pit stops, Pla remained in the lead but now ahead of Adam’s AX Racing Corvette DP which led its sister car, now piloted by Christian Fittipaldi. The ex-F1 driver was running three seconds ahead of Hartley and five ahead of Bomarito.

In GTLM, Milner kept his ’Vette in front of stablemate C7.R piloted by Antonio Garcia for several laps before conceding the lead and then pitting. Michael Christensen’s #912 Porsche 911 RSR ran third but came under increasing pressure from Davide Rigon’s Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE, while right behind them was the No. 100 BMW M6 piloted by Lucas Luhr.

Both Luhr and Rigon got past Christensen on Lap 138, which allowed the #911 Porsche driven by Patrick Pilet to close in on its sister car.

Following the flurry of pitstops at the end of the fifth hour, Mike Rockenfeller took over in the #3 Corvette as Makowiecki and and Nick Tandy ran second and third in the Porsches, ahead of Graham Rahal in the #100 BMW M6. Fassler was now installed in the #4 Corvette, holding off Olivier Beretta, who had taken over the Risi Ferrari from Rigon.

GTD was led by Bryan Sellers’ No. 48 Paul Miller-run Lamborghini Huracan, with Damien Faulkner’s Riley Motorsports Viper #93 in second ahead of Mathias Lauda’s Aston Martin Vantage. Lauda would then hand over to Pedro Lamy, but he was given a drive-through penalty for spinning his wheels out of the pitbox.

When the Viper also pitted, that allowed Mario Farnbacher’s Alex Job Racing 911 and another Viper, piloted by his brother Dominik Farnbacher, up into P2 and P3.

Madison Snow took over from Sellers in the lead Lambo at the end of the fifth hour.

Early Lamborghini contender, O’Gara Motorsport, continued their race despite now being 11 laps down due to electrical problems affecting the gearbox.

Nicholas Boulle was up front in Prototype Challenge in the #52 PR1/Mathiasen machine, with Mark Wilkins’ JDC entry in second, but they swapped position, and Jose Gutierrez took over from Boulle.

Third placed PC car, the Brandon Gdovic-driven Performance Tech Oreca, brought out the yellow that brought the field under caution as the hour ended.

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About this article
Series IMSA
Event Daytona 24
Track Daytona International Speedway
Drivers Olivier Pla
Teams Meyer Shank Racing
Article type Breaking news