The stranglehold the no.8 Starworks Motorsport team have on the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona was strengthened, the threatened in the space of a single hour.
The hour began with a flurry of stops for the leading Daytona Prototypes, John Pew, Memo Rojas and Ryan Dalziel all making stops. Pew, in the no.60 Michael Shank Racing Riley took up the long-running chase to challenge the leader but Dalziel always had the better of Pew, adding seconds a lap to the lead as Pew fell back towards Rojas, who would take second before the end of the hour.
Meanwhile Dalziel's lead ballooned out towards one minute.
Both Action Express Corvette DP were delayed. Max Papis pulled the no.9 into the garage for a brief stay while Christian Fittipaldi's no.5 had to undergo and brake disc and pad change on all four corners that dropped the car back to fifth behind the no.6 Michael Shank entry with Felipe Nasr back aboard for his third Daytona stint.
The leaders in the GT class are much more tightly packed and the lead changed hands several times during the 60 minutes. Leh Keen lost the lead to Rene Rast, freshly installed in place of Richard Lietz, in the Magnus Racing entry after a succession of unusually slow laps from the Brumos Racing driver.
When Rast pitted the no.44 car Keen retook the lead, but he soon followed suit with a longer stop to put Porsche works driver Marc Lieb in the cockpit to start his stint.
The pair ended the hour running 1-2, Rast re-assuming the lead ahead of Lieb with the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro in third, the no.57 is the only non Porsche that has shown any consistency and ability to challenge the domination of the German brand, and with Rob Liddell at the wheel has fought back into contention, as the third car on the lead lap in class.
The hour ended with lead battles due to be shaken up as the track came under its tenth full course caution after Alex Gurney crashed the no.99 Gainsco Chevrolet DP heavily into the tyre wall on the outside of the second infield horseshoe.
50th Rolex 24 at Daytona DP class standings after Hour 15
1. #8 Starworks Motorsport – Dalziel/Luhr/McNish/Popow/Potolicchio
2. #01 Chip Ganassi Racing – Hand/Pruett/Rahal/Rojas
3. #60 Michael Shank Racing – Allmendinger/Negri/Pew/Wilson
4. #6 Michael Shank Racing – Goncalves/McDowell/Nasr/Yacaman
5. #5 Action Express Racing – Donahue/Fittipladi/Law
50th Rolex 24 at Daytona GT class standings after Hour 15
1. #44 Magnus Racing – Lally/Lietz/Potter/Rast
2. #59 Brumos Racing – Davis/Haywwod/Keen/Lieb
3. #57 Stevenson Motorsport – Bremer/Edwards/Liddell
4. #67 TRG – Bertheau/Bleekemolen/Goossens/Henzler/Pumpelly
5. #23 Alex Job Racing – Collard/Holzer/Leitzinger/MacNeill