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IMSA Daytona 24 Hours

Daytona 24, Hour 3: Cadillac leads Acura and Porsche

The #01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac leads the Acuras of Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing after three hours of action in the 61st Daytona 24 Hours.

#01 Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-LMDh: Sebastien Bourdais, Renger van der Zande, Scott Dixon

With the first pitstops out of the way, Tom Blomqvist’s Meyer Shank Racing Acura led the similar car of Wayne Taylor Racing, driven by Ricky Taylor, by 10 seconds.

Taylor had a similar margin over the quintet of #02 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac (Alex Lynn), #6 Porsche Penske Motorsports 963 (Nick Tandy), #01 CGR Caddy (Sebastien Bourdais), #7 PPM 963 (Felipe Nasr), #31 Action Express Racing Cadillac (Pipo Derani) covered by six seconds.

A further 40s behind was Philipp Eng in the sole healthy BMW M Hybrid, with a reported hybrid unit issue crippling the #25 car and sent it to the garage.

Ten minutes later, the picture changed again, as Nasr’s car suddenly halted on its 40th lap - but the #7 Porsche got going again.

The expected full-course caution therefore didn’t fall, but the #02 Cadillac of Lynn appeared to have responded and made a brief pitstop for fuel only, resuming 10s ahead of Nasr.

Nearer the sharp end, Bourdais was on a charge, and he was into second ahead of Taylor by Lap 50, 90 minutes into the race, and cut the gap down to under nine seconds.

Tandy pitted the #6 Porsche on Lap 58 and handed off to Mathieu Jaminet, the first of the GTP driver exchanges, and emerged eighth behind the still recovering Nasr, and temporarily a lap behind the leader.

Next time by, Blomqvist pitted the leading Acura to be replaced by Colin Braun, while Eng was out of the BMW and Augusto Farfus was installed.

However, there were too many people over the wall and so he suffered a drive-through penalty.

Braun soon found himself under threat from the #01 Cadillac, the gap down to 2.5s temporarily. A dozen seconds further behind was the #6 Porsche of Jaminet, 2.5s ahead of Deletraz.

Even before the full course yellow flew after 127 minutes for a shunted GTD car, Meyer Shank pulled in the leading Acura and Colin Braun was serviced.

However, when the pits opened Braun did pit along with the other GTP cars, the #31 getting a nose change following its early-race skirmish with the #6 Porsche.

The #02 Cadillac of Westbrook and Farfus in the #24 BMW pitted a lap later to get back on the lead lap, while Braun stopped yet again to pick up new rear bodywork.

Thus for the restart, van der Zande in the #01 Cadillac would lead the #10 WTR Acura of Deletraz to the green, ahead of Jaminet, Aitken, Campbell, Braun, Westbrook and Farfus.

#10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-06: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz, Brendon Hartley

#10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-06: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz, Brendon Hartley

Photo by: Bob Meyer

Braun scrambled through to fourth on that first lap following the restart, while Westbrook deposed Campbell. Five minutes later, Braun was ahead of Jaminet and pursuing Deletraz, who wasn’t letting van der Zande escape, while Westbrook had fallen back behind Campbell who was up into sixth and pressuring Aitken’s AXR Cadillac.

With two hours and 40 minutes down, on the 87th lap, Braun pulled off a superb opportunist move to dive past Deletraz as they hit GT traffic and would have also passed van der Zande, but the Cadillac driver blocked him and retained the lead.

After the first stops, Ben Keating’s PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ran 12 seconds ahead of Francois Heriau in the TDS Racing entry in the LMP2 class, which had a 20s margin over the AF Corse entry of Francois Perrodo.

Following their third pitstops and the second restart, the PR1 car stayed out front in Alex Quinn’s hands but was being chased by the Proton Competition entry of Francesco Pizzi, with Matt McMurry third chased by the TDS cars of Scott Huffaker and Josh Pierson.

Huffaker was on a charge and on his 85th lap he was past McMurry into third and started trying to close down a six second gap on Pizzi, and Pierson too eventually deposed the Crowdstrike car.

Then the TDS cars were moved up to second and third when Pizzi pitted the Proton car.

David Pittard in the GTD Pro #23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage was separated from its nearest pursuer, Antonio Garcia’s #3 Corvette C8.R by eight seconds and the lead GTD car of Mike Skeen in the Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes AMG GT3 at the end of hour three. 

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Previous article Daytona 24, Hour 1: Acura leads, BMW in trouble early
Next article Daytona 24, Hour 9: Cadillac back in charge, scare for MSR Acura

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