Alonso Leads Rolex 24 At 18-Hour Mark

Alonso Leads Rolex 24 At 18-Hour Mark

Extends No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R Team Lead in IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup

After 18 hours in the 57th Rolex 24 At Daytona, two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso held the lead in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R to earn the maximum five points and extend the team’s lead in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup standings.

The race was under a red flag, which came out at 7:21 a.m. ET due to heavy rains. The red flag followed a lengthy full-course caution period that came out at 6:04 a.m. ET when Tommy Milner crashed in the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. Rain began falling at Daytona just after 4:30 a.m. and gradually intensified.

“It is raining heavy,” Alonso said. “For me it is OK, I am in front. If you are running fifth or sixth, then the visibility is a problem and the aquaplaning with the standing water. It is not easy to fix while we are running to drain the water from the track. Now it is raining even heavier.

“As long as we are not doing laps behind the safety car, it is better to stop. Before the caution it was fun. The Cadillac was performing well in dry conditions as well is the wet. We lapped a few cars, if we had the European rules, we would have been a couple laps in front of everyone. It is going to be an exciting finish and good show. I have more time to do in the car. I am ready to go.”

Alonso and teammates Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande and Kamui Kobayashi lead the Michelin Endurance Cup standings by three points, 13-10, over a two-way tie between both Acura Team Penske DPi entries. Dane Cameron was second at 18 hours in the No. 6 Acura he shares with Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud, with Ricky Taylor third in the No. 7 Acura co-driven by Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi.

There was a total of four DPis still on the lead lap at 18 hours with 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Pipo Derani sitting fourth in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi.

In the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, Alessandro Pier Guidi led the way in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE, which also moved the No. 62 team to the top of the Michelin Endurance Cup standings. Pier Guidi is co-driving with Davide Rigon, James Calado and Miguel Molina.

The No. 62 team was two points ahead, 12-10, of the No. 911 Porsche GT Team (which was fourth at 18 hours) with the No. 66 Ford GT team sitting third in GTLM.

Laurens Vanthoor was second in GTLM in the No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR he is sharing with Earl Bamber and Mathieu Jaminet.

In GT Daytona (GTD), A.J. Allmendinger was the race leader in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3, but the No. 33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG GT3 driven by Jeroen Bleekemolen in 12th place was the Michelin Endurance Cup points leader.

Bleekemolen and co-drivers Ben Keating, Luca Stolz and Felipe Fraga have a total of 12 Michelin Endurance Cup points, two more than the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 team of Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley, Dillon Machavern and Jens Klingmann. The No. 96 was 14th in GTD at 18 hours.

In the LMP2 class, the No. 18 DragonSpeed ORECA squad of Roberto Gonzalez, Pastor Maldonado, Sebastian Saavedra and Ryan Cullen led the Michelin Endurance Cup standings, while their teammate, James Allen, held the class race lead in the No. 81 ORECA.

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