The rain became the deciding factor as the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona completes its 6 Hour distance. At the front of the field, the #5 Mustang Sampling Racing leads the Prototype class, though an extended FCY caused by Marcel Fassler‘s #4 Corvette Racing as the car lost electronics.
The hour ended with a number of the cars sliding into off as the weather deteriorated.
After the crash for the #88 Starworks Motorsport car, which brought out the fourth full course yellow, the field reset as they approached the quarter of the race.
The #31 Whelan Engineering Racing, driven by Eric Curran, led the Prototype‘s as the GTLM class battle headed the train over the line. Over the next few laps the #31 extended their gap, attempting to make up for lost time after the caution.
Their rivals in the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing and the #5 Cadillac DPi responded with further fastest laps, as Max Angelelli took the lead as the leaders waved their way through backmarkers.
Rain saw a number of the front-runners enter the pits, though the #10 chose not to change to wet tyres, this cost them allowing the #5 to retake the advantage.
PC remained static, with the #38 Performance Tech Motorsports continued to lead by over two laps, with only three teams truly left in the race.
Meanwhile in GTLM, a promising fourth position went from bad to worse for Fassler. He was spun by Harry Tinknell Ford only a few laps back into green flag running before having the electrics cut out on the banking. After stopping on track, another FCY was called with 18h 34m remaining.
The resulting pitstops saw problems for the Corvette’s as Kevin Estre in the #912 Porsche GT Team took his turn in the lead. The hour ended with his team-mate Patrick Pilet in the #911 heading the class.
The focus remained on GTD, as the top six were nose-to-tail for the majority of the hour. The #93 Michael Shank Racing of Mark Wilkins was under extraordinary pressure from the #96 BMW M6 and the #63 Scuderia Corsa, which had superior straight line speed, but were slower in the corners.
For some time, the top seven were made up of seven different manufacturers, though it would be the #66 driven by Sam Bird who took the lead just seconds before the FCY was called. As the grid found their positions, it was Shane van Gisbergen in the #50 Riley Motorsports car who moved into lead after dicing with Bird in the rain.
Order after 6 Hours
5 Mustang Sampling Racing – Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi, Filipe Albuquerque
31 Whelen Engineering Racing – Dane Cameron, Eric Curran, Michael Conway, Seb Morris
10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta – Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor, Max Angelelli, Jeff Gordon
38 Performance Tech Motorsports – James French, Patricio OWard, Kyle Masson, Nicholas Boulle
20 BAR1 Motorsports – Don Yount, Buddy Rice, Chapman Ducote, Gustavo Yucaman, Mark Kvamme
26 BAR1 Motorsports – Tom Papadopolous, Johnny Mowlem, Adam Merzon, Trent Hindman
911 Porsche GT Team – Patrick Pilet, Dirk Werner, Fredoric Makowiecki
66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing – Dirk Mueller, Joey Hand, Sebastien Bourdais
3 Corvette Racing – Jan Magnussen, Mike Rockenfeller, Antonio Garcia
50 Riley Motorsports WeatherTech Racing – Thomas Jaeger, Cooper MacNeil, Gunner Jeannette, Shane Van Gisbergen
63 Scuderia Corsa – Christina Nielsen, Alessandro Balzan, Matteo Cressoni, Sam Bird
23 Alex Job Racing – Pierre Kaffer, Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell, Frank Montecalvo