The Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier JSP2-HPD of Pipo Derani, Johannes van Overbeek, Ed Brown and Scott Sharp led the Rolex 24 at Daytona as the race reached its halfway point.
Derani narrowly led the two Action Express Corvette Daytona Prototypes by 1.9 seconds following a recent caution caused by the stranded Highway to Help Riley DP. The Brazilian driver tracked Scott Pruett at the restart and overtook the #5 Action Express machine heading into turn one.
Pruett had inherited the lead just before the 10 hour mark when the ESM car was called in to serve a lengthy stop go penalty for running a red light in the pit lane. However the Ligier soon recovered through a mixture of pace and good caution management to get back in touch with the leading DPs.
Hours 9 to 12 featured a high attrition rate as all but one of the LMP2 cars dropped off the lead lap.
The SMP Racing BR01 was the first to fall, encountering an as-yet unknown mechanical problem early in the night shift.
Michael Shank Racing became a high profile casualty after nine and a half hours when Oswaldo Negri Jr pulled off with a terminal engine failure.
A similar fate befell the sole remaining Mazda Prototype, which stopped on track twice at the international horseshoe. On the second occasion flames could be seen escaping from the power unit, forcing Tristan Nunez to abandon the car with 13 hours still to go.
In GTLM the relentless pace continued through the night, with nine cars all on the lead lap at halfway. Alessandro Pier Guidi held first position at the halfway point in the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE, while the two Porsche 911 RSRs were in close pursuit. #911 driver Nick Tandy had taken the lead on 10 hours 40 minutes with a brilliant late braking move on the BMW of John Edwards, but two subsequent cautions bunched the field back up.
PR1/Mathiasen Motorsport’s Nicholas Boulle led Prototype Challenge at the 12 hour milestone with Stephen Simpson in the JDC-Miller car closing in after an incident cost the team some ground.
In GT Daytona, Alex Riberas won a thrilling four car battle at the 11 hour 30 mark to hold the class lead at halfway. The works #98 Aston Martin ended the first 12 hours in second after a quiet but consistent run, with the #6 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 running in third.
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