Rolex 24 at Daytona Hours 22-24: ESM takes the Honours

by Connor Jackson

At the end of 24 hours, it came down a three way fight between three class drivers. Luis Felipe Derani in the #2 Tequila Patron ESM Ligier crossed the line with a 26 second gap over the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing as it fell back in the later stages.

Of the remaining Prototypes disaster struck the #01 as it lost control at the international horseshoe, smashing into the barrier and bringing out the FCY. It came back out of the pits later on, but only to defend fifth place overall from the recovering #31.

But the final hour saw issues for the #10 as Jordan Taylor reported a vibration, which only escalated his sickness. The three leaders pitted, with Max Angelelli taking over for the final 45 minute sprint. It wasn’t enough though as he was unable to catch the Honda. The #90 VisitFlordia Racing rounded out the podium, a further 35 seconds back.

The gap was only 10 seconds for the leaders after the final pit stop, with both matching each other’s pace. Meanwhile the #5 Action Express machine remained out of trouble in the closing stages to claim fourth.

The Prototype Challenge class ended as the pundits expected. The #85 JDC-Miller Motorsports car driven by Kenton Koch won by 4 laps over the #52 Mathiasen Motorsport car, which did well to recover after various issues.

Meanwhile; the Corvette’s didn’t look like they were going to have it all their own way in GTLM. The #912 Porsche NA driven by Earl Bamber lead after the final pit stops, but could do nothing as the #4 Corvette Racing machine barged its way past.

The #3 of Antonio Garcia also got past, and with 20 minutes to go was given the freedom to race his team mate. This created the most exciting action on track as Garcia had more grip but was unable to get the run on the #4. The two were split by 0.034 over the line.

GTD ended as close as we were expecting, with the battle for the podium going to the end. After the 23 hour mark, Rene Rast had a comfortable lead in the #44 Magnus Racing crew, however, a lack of fuel saw the field bunch up with 15 minutes to go.

Rast couldn’t maintain his speed and Fabio Bambini drove past with ease, but both would slow as they ran out of fuel in the closing laps. Bambini in the #28 Konrad Motorsport Lamboghini stopped before the end as Rast took the win chased by the #540 Black Swan Racing Porsche in second.

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