Lucas Luhr and Allan McNish enjoyed time in the lead as the pole-sitting no.8 Starworks Motorsport Riley-Ford returned to the top of the leaderboard early in the fourth hour of the 50th Rolex 24 Hours.
With Luhr driving the blue and white car took the lead from Justin Wilson in the Michael Shank Racing no.60 at turn one. The Indycar driver had only held the top spot for a lap after Joao Barbosa had pitted in the Action Express Racing Corvette DP – possibly anticipating a full course caution after Derek Whitis stopped his Muehlner Motorsport Porsche on the inside of the International Horseshoe.
The strategy failed to pay off. The stricken Porsche was recovered without the safety car being needed and Terry Borcheller slotted back into fourth place behind McNish, Michael Valiente and Wilson.
Valiente gave Starworks a surprising 1-2 in the running order, actually challenging McNish in the opening laps of the Scot's first race stint of the race. However, McNish pulled away as he settled into the car, Valiente instead slipping back towards Wilson, who completed the pass for second place at turn one when the no.2 car was briefly held up behind a GT class Mazda.
The fourth hour also included the end of Felipe Nasr's opening Rolex 24 stint in the no.6 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian car. The Brazilian climbed as high as fifth overall, passing several cars in the process, including that of Jan Magnussen – father of Nasr's 2011 British F3 rival.
“It was unbelievable. I passed more cars in that stint than in an entire season in F3!” said Nasr after handing the car over to Jorge Goncalves. “I am going to go get some sleep now and food before my next stint – the team are doing well, i hope we can stay in the mix. Things are looking good right now.”
Goncalves – another Rolex 24 rookie fell behind both the Ganassi cars early in his stint, though he regained fifth place when Memo Rojas pitted shortly after he and Jamie McMurray in the sister Riley-BMW touched while passing a GT car on the infield.
In the GT class the no.44 Magnus Racing Porsche led at the conclusion of the hour, Andy Lally having resisted a challenge from Joerg Bergmeister in the Flying Lizards no.45 car. Lally had taken over the lead car from Porsche Supercup champion Rene Rast, but Bergmeister whittled away the lead to only a few tenths of a second.
A tiny mistake from Lally – running deep into turn one allowed Bergmeister to come alongside and the pair ran wheel to wheel through the quick chicane before the first of Daytona's two horseshoe turns, Lally retaking the lead on the inside line.
Bergmeister fell back shortly after, falling out of the top five at the end of the hour.
After a seemingly innocuous off in the infield with Billy Johnson at the wheel the no.94 Turner Motorsports BMW M3 was retired from the race.
50th Rolex 24 at Daytona DP class standings after Hour 4
1. #8 Starworks Motorsport – Dalziel/Luhr/McNish/Popow/Potolicchio
2. #60 Michael Shank Racing – Allmendinger/Negri/Pew/Wilson
3. #2 Starworks Motorsport – Andretti/Hunter-Reay/Potolicchio/Potolicchio/Valiente
4. #02 Chip Ganassi Racing – Dixon/Franchitti/McMurray/Montoya
5. #6 Michael Shank Racing – Goncalves/McDowell/Nasr/Yacaman
50th Rolex 24 at Daytona GT class standings after Hour 4
1. #44 Magnus Racing – Lally/Lietz/Potter/Rast
2. #66 TRG – Farnbacher/Keating/Pilet'Simonsen
3. #59 Brumos Racing – Davis/Haywood/Keen/Lieb
4. #48 Paul Miller Racing – Bell/Miller/Maassen
5. #32 Orbit/GMG – Armindo/Curtis/Lewis/Sofronas/Willsey