We’re at the quarter mark in the 2018 Rolex 24 Hours, with the sun down, and Mike Conway has risen up the order in the Whelen Engineering Action Express Cadillac, fighting through the rain. The Mustang Sampling sister car led much of the fourth and fifth hours, before the rain came down, causing a slew of position changes as some teams rolled the dice.
When the heavy rain began at the start of hour six, much of the field went onto wets, but some stayed out on slicks. Christian Fittipaldi in the Mustang Sampling car struggled in the changing conditions, and the chasing pack reeled him in.
Helio Castroneves got by in the #7 Penske Acura, to take the lead towards the end of Hour 6. But shortly after that, the hard-charging Whelen Caddy, which was delayed after being handed a drive-through penalty for a collision in Hour 4, took the lead, Toyota LMP1 man Conway slaloming his way past Castroneves.
Behind Castroneves, Fittipaldi now sits third, with Jordan Taylor fourth, the Wayne Taylor Cadillac recovering after a puncture out on track. Fifth is the #6 Penske Acura, with the #23 United Autosports Ligier up to sixth. Along with Conway, the other star in the rain – which came and went pretty quickly – was Norris in the #23, the young Brit showing off his skills in the wet, flying up the order, into the lead briefly during a pit cycle.
Elsewhere in the class, the #22 ESM Nissan ran into trouble. It began hour four in second place, but slipped to 16th after a puncture. Also in trouble was the #77 Mazda, it too had a puncture, adding to the Joest team’s tough Rolex. The #22 is now 14th, and the #77 is a lowly 28th.
In GTLM, it’s a Ford 1-2, Sebastien Bourdais leading in the #66, ahead of Scott Dixon in the #67. The pair proved rapid in the wet, lapping as quick as many of the Prototype runners, only challenged by Patrick Pilet – who stayed out on slicks – in the #911 Porsche, who took the lead but is now down to fourth.
Corvette’s #4 C7.R is still in the mix though, running fourth, though it did lose a lot of time after the team elected to leave Marcel Fassler out on slicks. The Swiss struggled in the conditions, losing 10 seconds a lap, before eventually pitting. Jan Magnussen in the #3 is down to fifth.
Outside of the top five, there was drama for the #25 BMW, Bill Auberlin suffering a right-front tyre failure at Turn 1 on the banking/ thankfully though, he kept the car out of the wall, and was able to pit, and drive the car behind the wall for repairs.
In GTD, Land Motorsport now leads GTD, Kelvin Van Der Linde proving fast in the wet, now ahead of the Riley Mercedes after the most recent pit cycle. Bleekemolen is second in the AMG GT3, with Mario Farnbacher now up to third in the #93 Michael Shank Racing Acura.
Frank Perera in the #11 Grasser Lambo, is down to fourth, after running in the lead for a time, but struggled on slicks in the wet, Van Der Linde taking the place.