Fernando Alonso leads rain-drenched Rolex 24 with eight hours remaining


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso is leading the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, which was under a full-course caution because of rain with 8 hours remaining.

The car owner of Alonso’s Wayne Taylor Racing No. 10 Cadillac DPI was lobbying IMSA officials to stop the race with a red flag instead of having cars circle under yellow, which had been out for more than an hour because of persistent rain and standing water in many sectors of the course.

“The entire team doesn’t have any clue why we’re going around in circles and neither do the drivers,” Wayne Taylor told Parker Kligerman. “Anyone can look at the radar and see this is getting worse. Someone sitting in an office looking at the track needs to take the advice of drivers on the track.”

Taylor said officials either should close the track’s pit entry to throw the red flag.

“It’s just silly,” he said. “I’m not even mad. It’s just, ‘What are they doing?'”

Dane Cameron’s No. 6 Acura Team Penske DPI was in second place overall, followed by his teammate Ricky Taylor’s No. 7.

In the GTD class, NBCSN analyst AJ Allmendinger was leading in the No. 86 Acura for Michael Shank Racing. In an interview with the NBCSN booth over his team radio, Allmendinger said he wanted to keep racing.

“Driving around at this speed (under caution), it’s pretty sketchy already,” Allmendinger said. “It’s definitely hard to go back to green right now. But if you want to go racing, stopping the race, there’s no way that’s going to help. We stop this race, the track is gone.

“It’s a difficult position to be in now. It sucks. We like to be racing and putting on a great show for everybody, but hey, anything can happen. Hopefully we get this thing back green.”

At 7:22 a.m., IMSA put out the red flag to stop the race.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III