Yellow flags ruled the hour as the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona slowly ticked towards dawn with a broken down car and increasingly bad weather meaning more than half the hour was run under caution in this the first round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
At the start of the hour, all was relatively calm as the grid looked to enjoy some green flag running after a number of caution periods in the previous hour.
One man really enjoying that opportunity was Rene Rast in the VisitFlorida Racing Multimatic/Riley who was hunting down Ricky Taylor in the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac and doing a pretty good job at it as well.
However, they didn’t have much green joy as the full course caution came out 15 minutes into the 15th hour because the #26 BAR1 Motorsports Prototype Challenge entry of Trent Hindman crawled to a halt after the West Horseshoe and couldn’t be restarted.
There was a rather tense moment in the pits for the #68 and #69 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs. Coming in under yellow, the team decided to change brakes on the cars knowing they wouldn’t lose as much time during the caution period. However, after the cars were released they were literally seconds away from being put a lap down as they managed to hit pit exit just before the safety car came through.
Twenty minutes later and the full caution period was lifted and almost immediately the #26 span coming out of the International Horseshoe, thankfully he got it going again so there was no delay.
In the Prototype Class, Jordan Taylor took over the Konica Minolta Cadillac from brother Ricky and held his own against Marc Goossens – who had taken over the VisitFlorida car – as the rain just kept coming down over Daytona. In third place was the Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac of Filipe Albuquerque who was the first of the cars to be no longer on the lead lap.
GT Le Mans saw the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 of James Calado get past the Porsche North America Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs of Dirk Werner and Richard Lietz respectively.
There wouldn’t be much opportunity for any further movement because with ten minutes to go in the hour, the full course caution came out again because the rain was becoming increasingly heavy.
Top 3 in each class after 15 Hours
10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta – Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor, Max Angelelli, Jeff Gordon
90 VisitFlorida Racing – Marc Goossens, Renger van der Zande, Rene Rast
5 Mustang Sampling Racing – Joao Barbosa, Filipe Albuquerque, Christian Fittipaldi
38 Performance Tech Motorsports – James French, Patricio O’Ward, Kyle Masson, Nicholas Boulle
20 BAR1 Motorsports – Don Yount, Buddy Rice, Mark Kvamme, Chapman Ducote, Gustavo Yacaman
26 BAR1 Motorsports – Tom Papadopoulos, Johnny Mowlem, Adam Merzon, Trent Hindman, David Cheng
62 Risi Competizione – James Calado, Toni Villander, Giancarlo Fisichella
911 Porsche GT Team – Patrick Pilet, Dirk Werner, Frederic Makowiecki
912 Porsche GT Team – Kevin Estre, Laurens Vanthoor, Richard Lietz
33 Riley Motorsports – Team AMG – Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Mario Fernbacher, Adam Christodoulou
11 GRT Grasser Racing Team – Ezequiel Perez Companc, Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart, Rolf Ineichen
57 Stevenson Motorsports – Robin Liddell, Matt Bell, Andrew Davis, Lawson Aschenbach