Rolex 24: Wayne Taylor Racing leads after a chaotic opening to Daytona 24h

Rolex 24 Wayne Taylor Racing leads after a chaotic opening to Daytona 24h

Ricky Taylor’s #10 Acura ARX-06 led Sebastien Bourdais’s #01 Cadillac Racing V-Series.R as Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti used a clever strategy to take the lead following an incident-filled first hour of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti’s No. 10 Acura ARX-06 in the hands of Ricky Taylor took an early lead in a chaotic opening to the Rolex 24 at Daytona as the GTD Pro class Lexus RC F GT3 sustained significant damage in an incident with an LMP2 entry.

Poleman Pipo Derani (#31 Action Express Cadillac) led from Felipe Nasr’s #7 Penske Porsche, which had taken second place from Bourdais’s Chip Ganassi-driven Caddy into Turn 1 after movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer waved the green flag.

Derani swiftly surged clear by one second as Bourdais caught up to Nasr and overtook him on the third lap to put the Caddy 1-2 back in order, with Derani now leading by two seconds. For the majority of the first hour, Bourdais and Derani were running nose-to-tail as Bourdais closed the gap on the race leader.

Trailing Nasr in fourth place was Connor De Phillippi’s #25 BMW M Hybrid V8, which was ahead of Ricky Taylor’s #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Andretti Acura ARX-06. In the first twenty minutes Nick Tandy moved up to fifth in the sister Penske Porsche after overtaking Taylor.

Just before the half-hour mark, Misha Goikhberg spun the #78 Forte Racing GTD class Lamborghini Huracan at the Bus Stop chicane, causing substantial damage to the tirewall that he was unable to rejoin, prompting the first full-course caution of the race.

All ten of the GTP cars came into the pits and Ricky Taylor in the No. 10 WTR Andretti Acura was the first out of the pits to secure the lead thanks to short-filling. He was followed by Derani and Bourdais in second and third respectively.

Bourdais overtook Derani for second place and was closing in on Taylor for the lead when a crash involving Dennis Andersen’s No. 20 High Class Racing LMP2 car and Mike Conway’s No. 14 Lexus prompted the second caution.

The crash happened as Conway went around Turn 2 and Andersen wheeled across his bows, seemingly leaving Conway with nowhere to escape. The two cars made contact, leaving the Lexus severely damaged.

Andersen managed to make it back to the pits on his own before receiving a push behind the wall, but Conway only made it as far as the back stretch before stopping. After an hour, the field was still under caution due to significant debris from the collision, with Taylor leading Bourdais and Nasr returning to third place ahead of Derani.

Neel Jani’s Proton Competition Porsche and Nick Tandy’s No. 6 works 963, which was delayed in the pits for a steering check, were in sixth and seventh place, respectively, behind Louis Deletraz’s No. 40 WTR Andretti Acura.

George Kurtz led the way in the No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR Oreca 07 Gibson in LMP2. After the first round of stops, Nico Pino overtook pole-sitter Ben Keating in the No. 2 United Autosports entry.

Pietro Fittipaldi ran third in the No. 52 Inter Europol by PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports entry, filling in for the injured Clement Novalak after taking over from starting driver Nick Boulle, who was given the nod to start in the car’s original grid position of second in class.

Lexus driver Conway was leading the GTD Pro class at the time of his incident after taking over the car that Ben Barnicoat had started. However, Aaron Telitz was leading the GTD field overall in the team’s GTD class RC F GT3.

Andrea Caldarelli was running first in GTD Pro and second in GTD aboard the No. 19 Iron Lynx Lamborghini ahead of Oliver Jarvis in the Pfaff Motorsports McLaren 720S GT3 Evo.

The following car was Antonio Garcia’s No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R representing Corvette Racing with Pratt Miller Motorsports. Tommy Milner ran fourth in class and was split on the road by Manny Franco’s Conquest Racing Ferrari 296 GT3.

The No. 77 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, which had won the GTD Pro pole, faded down the order after Michael Christensen suffered a drive-through penalty for colliding with the No. 3 Corvette during qualifying.

AWA’s No. 13 Corvette experienced early problems due to a power steering issue, which caused it to start the race behind the rest of the cars.

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