Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Taylor/Albuquerque win after fierce Acura duel

Starting from pole, Ricky Taylor’s Wayne Taylor Racing Acura led by Oliver Jarvis in Meyer Shank Racing’s Acura ARX-05, who just fended off a strong first-corner attack from Alex Lynn in the first of the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs. That was as close to an Acura as a Cadillac got all day.

There was early drama when the second #01 CGR car of Sebastien Bourdais crawled to a halt on the approach to the Corkscrew after 15 minutes before managing to reboot its electronics and rejoin. He pitted a lap later, however, for further work – and the team parked the car for the day soon after.

The first and only full course yellow was required for the #57 GTD Mercedes of Russell Ward, who crashed heavily at the left-hander before the corkscrew in the opening hour.

After taking over from Taylor and Jarvis respectively, Albuquerque and Blomqvist fought a fascinating duel for the lead as Tristan Vautier brought JDC-Miller MotorSports’ Cadillac up to third, fighting with Lynn in the remaining CGR car. Bamber then went off and hit the wall just ahead of the second round of pitstops, consigning it to finishing a lapped fifth.

The lead changed hands soon after half distance when Blomqvist effectively undercut Albuquerque and passed him on track for the lead while the Portuguese was still on cold tires.

With just over an hour remaining, Albuquerque grabbed the lead back with a sensational move at Corkscrew, as Blomqvist got boxed by the lone Corvette. The Acuras made contact on two occasions as they snaked down the hill, as Albuquerque muscled his way past.

The gap between them ebbed and flowed to the finish, with Albuquerque maintaining the upper hand and staying ahead this time when the MSR team attempted another undercut at the final round of stops. The margin between them at the checkered flag was just over one second.

The Action Express Racing Caddy of Pipo Derani and Tristan Nunez took a while to establish itself in third, finishing ahead of Vautier/Richard Westbrook for the honor of first Cadillac home.

In LMP2, John Farano and Louis Deletraz dominated for Tower Motorsport, helped when the pole-winning PR1 Mathiasen car spun at the very first corner in Steven Thomas’s hands.

The battle for second was between Era Motorsports’ Ryan Dalziel and Juan Pablo Montoya of DragonSpeed ​​– but Montoya’s race was hindered by a spin as he entered the pits to serve a drive-through penalty for spinning his wheels while up on the jacks. He pitted again late on to finish a distant third.

#9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R: Matt Campbell, Mathieu Jaminet

Photo by: Brett Farmer / Motorsport Images

Porsche dominated GTD Pro

In GTD Pro, the Pfaff Motorsports Porsche of Mathieu Jaminet grabbed the lead from pole sitter Daniel Juncadella in WeatherTech Racing’s Mercedes. Jaminet handed over to Matt Campbell, who scampered away to a convincing victory, well clear of a huge battle for second.

The Vasser Sullivan Lexus of Jack Hawksworth/Ben Barnicoat rose to second, ahead of the Team RLL BMW M4 of Connor De Phillippi and John Edwards and the Corvette of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor.

There was an all-BMW battle for GT Daytona honors for the most part, as the Paul Miller Racing M4 dued with the Turner Motorsport version of Robby Foley and Bill Auberlen.

But pole winner Jan Heylen charged back to the front in his Wright Motorsports-run Porsche, passing Auberlen to win the class in the closing 10 minutes in the car he shared with Ryan Hardwick.

Jeff Westphal and Robert Megennis just pipped Auberlen to second by 0.037s in their CarBahn with Peregrine Lamborghini Huracan.

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