2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona: Hour 11 Update – Cadillacs, Acura’s Battling For the Lead

by Paul Hensby

The caution period that greeted hour eleven ensured a great battle between the two Team Penske Acura’s and the two Action Express Racing Cadillac’s, with the four frontrunners more than two laps clear of the rest of the field.

The #7 Penske held the advantage for the first two-thirds of the hour, but when Graham Rahal took back control of the steering wheel after a great stint from Ricky Taylor, Joao Barbosa in the #5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac assumed the lead, while the #31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac of Felipe Nasr jumped up to second.

Nasr had made a great move on both Barbosa and the #6 Penske of Simon Pagenaud just prior to the pit stop window, with the Brazilian getting a double slipstream from his rivals heading into the chicane to jump from fourth to second, although Barbosa was able to reclaim the advantage of the Action Express not long after.

However, there was huge disappointment for both the #2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan and #23 United Autosports Ligier, who both spent significant time in the garages with mechanical gremlins.

Gearbox issues for Ryan Dalziel forced the #2 back into the pits for a second time, while Fernando Alonso’s was forced to bring his #23 into the pits with a reported brake master cylinder failure that required it to be changed, with Lando Norris emerging from the pit lane around forty minutes later.

Robin Frijns is the best of the rest in fifth in the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing JOTA machine, and was looking feisty as he attempted to recover the two-lap deficit he has over the four leaders, while the #22 Tequila Patron ESM of Nicolas Lapierre sits in sixth.

In GT Le Mans, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing is currently one-two, with the #66, currently in the hands of Dirk Muller, ahead of the sister #67 of Ryan Briscoe, with less than five seconds between them.

Corvette Racing run three and four, Mike Rockenfeller in the #3 ahead of Marcel Fassler in the #4, with Laurens Vanthoor completing the top five in the #912 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR.

Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports leads in GT Daytona with the #33, currently being driven by Adam Christodoulou, ahead of Rolf Ineichen second in the #11 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan, while Bryce Miller in the #48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini runs third.

There were further issues for the #29 Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi, with the car suffering an apparent rear wing failure that saw them lose even more time after their earlier five-minute penalty for a Balance of Performance issue.

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