Published on January 25th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2015 Update 1st 4 Hours
As darkness fell in the fourth hour of the 2015 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, only a second split the lead of the prototype class after Sage Karam spun #01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford/Riley and lost a strong lead to the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP of Jordan Taylor.
The #0 DeltaWing driven by Andy Meyrick was hounding down the #01 car of Scott Pruett through the GTLM traffic. Despite the clear pace, the congestion prevented a chance to make a move.
As the first hour headed to a close, notable highlights saw Rubens Barichello lead the race on his Daytona 24 hour debut for the Starworks Motorsport team as the rest of the field began to pit early into the race. As the racing resumed, it began a long running GTLM battle that would continue across the four hours as Tandy battled Jan Magnussen and Oliver Gavin in the #3 and #4 Corvette Racing cars.
Perhaps the pressure became too much, as the two yellow Corvette’s collided at bus stop near the two hour marker and opened the door to Henzler for a pass on Magnussen. With one down, the German looked set to pounce on Gavin too in a class battle that stood alone at Daytona. In the other categories, Dixon was continuing to set the pace in the Protoype, while the BAR1 Motorsports ORECA FLM09 of Johnny Mowlem had led the way in the Prototype Challenge class for the majority of the race.
Finally the close racing spread across the classes and there was to be another first at the Daytona. At the 53rd incarnation of the race, the #07 SpeedSource Mazda became the first ever diesel power car to lead the event. With over two hours undertaken, the #62 Ferrari was at the top of the GTLM order and after a brief blip, Bleekemolen was on top of his as the #11 RSR Racing ORECA FLM09 had found its way to the Prototype Challenge lead.
It wasn’t to last for #11 driver, Chris Cummings, as Stephen Simpson’s similar ORECA of the Miller Motorsports team took the lead. GTD leader Bleekemolen suffered a similar fate when the #33 Dodge’s spin forced him onto the grass and cost him time.
At the close of the four hours, Giancarlo Fisichella’s late spin in the #62 meant that Patrick Pillet put the Porsche top ahead of Tommy Milner and Antonio Garcia of the #4 and #3 Corvettes. GTD finished the four with the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia leading the way ahead of the #49 AF Corse Ferrari and the #33 Viper.