Ford dominates Rolex 24 first six hours

January 27, 2018

Ford dominates Rolex 24 first six hours

January 27, 2018

This year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona is past the one-quarter mark, with Ford Chip Ganassi Racing having dominated the majority of the race with its No. 66 Ford GT.

Although Jan Magnussen secured the pole position in his No. 3 Corvette C7.R, both the No. 66 and No. 67 Fords moved past early and have largely controlled the race in the GT Le Mans class.

Joey Hand shares the No. 66 car with Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, and the trio looks to repeat their win of a year ago. That car led at each of hours one through five, while Patrick Pilet led at the sixth hour in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR on an alternate strategy. He made his latest pit stop shortly after the race hit the six-hour mark.

Behind the Fords up front, it’s been either of Porsche or Corvette that’s followed suit, but neither has had much for the Fords during the daylight hours before the race shifted to night. There are more than 13 hours of darkness during the 24-hour race.

Elsewhere in GTLM, the Risi Competizione Ferrari has been delayed slightly with a left side door issue, which was resolved.

BMW’s M8 GTEs have been gathering pertinent data and mileage in their race debuts. The team’s No. 25 car, driven by Bill Auberlen, sustained a cut to its right front tire from debris at Daytona’s oval Turn 2 in the sixth hour. Auberlen held onto the car and brought it back to the pit lane, and the BMW Team RLL crew made the necessary repairs for the car to rejoin the race.

Through the opening six hours there has only been one full course caution, for four laps and 13 minutes when Performance Tech Motorsports’ Oreca chassis stopped on track apparently out of fuel in-between oval Turns 3 and 4.

In the sixth hour, a pop-up shower sent teams scattering for rain tires. Most teams opted to change from slicks onto wets, except for Marcel Fassler in the No. 4 Corvette, who stayed out on the slicks on a damp track. Fassler was able to advance to the lead, but later lost a significant amount of time to fall down the order.

Up front, Cadillac’s DPi-V.R has largely controlled the race in the Prototype category, with either Action Express or Wayne Taylor’s cars fighting with the No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 in its race debut. Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso has led in his sports car debut, in a United Autosports Ligier, but on an off-sequence pit strategy.

Land Motorsport has controlled the GT Daytona class so far with its Audi R8 LMS. That team finished second in that class last year.

Some videos from the race thus far are below.

Alexander Sims – BMW

Jan Magnussen – Corvette

Joey Hand – Ford

Tommy Milner – Corvette

Running order through Hour 6


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