Rolex 24 Hour 4: Karam puts Ganassi No. 01 in front

Sage Karam put the No. 01 Ganassi Ford in front

Sage Karam, in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford, has moved into the lead just before the four-hour mark in the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The 19-year-old made a gutsy move on Lap 103, on the restart following the third full-course caution of the race to jump from third to first. He passed leader Jordan Taylor and Ganassi teammate Jamie McMurray in the sister CGR No. 02 Riley-Ford.

Karam pitted just shy of the four-hour mark to start the fifth round of pit stops and when they were all done he was back in the lead on lap 138.

As darkness falls four hours into the Rolex 24 At Daytona sports car endurance race, the field is maintaining a pace you would associate more with the last lap than the first 125.

Undoubtedly, "endurance" will be the ultimate key to winning the Rolex 24, as both mechanical failures and crash damage has already been a factor in reducing the 53-car field by a half-dozen entries.

"At the start of the race, you would think the best talent would be in the cars," said Scott Pruett, co-driver of the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost-powered Riley Daytona Prototype. "Even though, there were some crazy antics out there."

"I am always surprised at how hard people are fighting so early on," said Jeroen Bleekemolen, after his first stint in the No. 33 GT Daytona (GTD) Dodge Viper SRT, which led its class.

To no one's surprise, though, leading the most laps so far is the No. 02 Ganassi Ford EcoBoost-powered Riley DP, an entry shared by IndyCar regulars Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan, and NASCAR stars Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson.

That car seemed to be the team's hare, with the No. 01 sister car, driven by Pruett, Joey Hand, Charlie Kimball and Sage Karam maintaining a slightly more conservative pace, as the No. 01 car is running for season-long points in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, and the No. 02 isn't. That said, Karam took the lead for the No. 01 on his stint and logged the fastest lap of the race so far – 1 minute, 40.107 seconds, less than a second off qualifying pace.

Dixon, who qualified second, took the No. 02 car past polesitter Ozz Negri on the first lap, though Negri and the rest of the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Honda-powered Ligier JS P2 is staying close.

Also strong, as expected, is the defending race and season champion the No. 5 Action Express Racing Chevrolet Corvette DP, and the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP.

Leading overall at the four-hour mark, with the standings skewed a bit by recent pit stops, was Jordan Taylor in the Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP, followed by McMurray and Karam in the Ganassi cars. Eight cars, all Prototypes, remain on the lead lap, separated by less than 60 seconds.

In the Prototype Challenge (PC) class, the No. 54 CORE autosport car led after four hours. In GT Le Mans (GTLM), the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R was ahead, and in GTD, it was the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia. While there has been a fair amount of car-to-car contact and three full-course caution periods, there have been no serious incidents.

One of the biggest developments is that the innovative, lightweight DeltaWing Prototype, after running solidly in the top 10, pulled off the track on lap 43 with transmission issues serious enough to end its race. Other Prototypes suffering early problems were the No. 31 Whelen Chevrolet Corvette DP fielded by defending champion Action Express, as well as the No. 2 Tequila Patron Honda-powered HPD ARX-04b.

The Whelen Corvette got back on track, but multiple laps behind. Also plagued with early problems were the No. 97 BMW from defending TUDOR Championship GTD champions Turner Motorsport, and the No. 98 Aston Martin, which was a front runner early on in GTLM.

The two Mazda Prototypes are showing considerably more speed than last year, and the No. 07, driven by Tom Long, actually led briefly, becoming the first diesel-powered car and the first Mazda to lead overall in Rolex 24 history. But minutes later Long pulled the car to the pits with a drivetrain issue, and while it has returned to competition, it is seven laps down.

Broadcast coverage of the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona continues on FOX Sports 2 until 8 p.m. ET before moving to FOX Sports 1 from 8 to 10 p.m. From 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., it will be broadcast live on IMSA.com, before returning to FOX Sports 1 Sunday morning at 7 a.m. FOX Sports 1 coverage will continue for the remainder of the race, concluding at 2:30 p.m.

Hour 4.5 Standings

COP CCP CLASS CAR CURRENT DRIVER CAR TYPE LAPS BEHIND GAP STOPS FASTEST DRIVER
1 1 P 01 SAGE KARAM FORD ECOBOOST DP 138 –.— –.— 5 SAGE KARAM
2 2 P 10 MAX ANGELELLI CORVETTE DP 138 16.718 16.718 5 JORDAN TAYLOR
3 3 P 5 CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI CORVETTE DP 138 23.012 6.294 5 CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI
4 4 P 02 JAMIE MCMURRAY FORD ECOBOOST DP 138 23.751 0.739 5 SCOTT DIXON
5 5 P 90 MIKE ROCKENFELLER CORVETTE DP 138 47.575 23.824 6 MIKE ROCKENFELLER
6 6 P 60 AJ ALLMENDINGER HONDA HPD LIGIER JS P2 137 1 LAP 1 LAP 5 OSWALDO NEGRI JR
7 7 P 7 BRENDON HARTLEY BMW POWER RILEY DP 137 1 LAP 27.818 6 BRENDON HARTLEY
8 8 P 1 DAVID HEINEMEIER HANSSON HONDA HPD ARX 137 1 LAP 20.641 6 RYAN DALZIEL
9 9 P 57 TRACY KROHN LIGIER JS P2 JUDD 136 2 LAPS 1 LAP 6 OLIVIER PLA
10 10 P 70 SYLVAIN TREMBLAY MAZDA PROTOTYPE 135 3 LAPS 1 LAP 5 JONATHAN BOMARITO
11 1 PC 54 JAMES GUE ORECA FLM09 134 4 LAPS 1 LAP 5 COLIN BRAUN
12 2 PC 85 MIKHAIL GOIKHBERG ORECA FLM09 134 4 LAPS 1:11.358 5 STEPHEN SIMPSON
13 1 GTLM 4 SIMON PAGENAUD CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R 134 4 LAPS 8.356 4 OLIVER GAVIN
14 2 GTLM 24 GRAHAM RAHAL BMW Z4 GTE 134 4 LAPS 2.079 4 LUCAS LUHR
15 3 GTLM 17 WOLF HENZLER PORSCHE 911 RSR 134 4 LAPS 4.500 4 WOLF HENZLER
16 4 GTLM 25 DIRK WERNER BMW Z4 GTE 134 5 LAPS 1 LAP 5 BRUNO SPENGLER
17 5 GTLM 3 RYAN BRISCOE CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R 133 5 LAPS 0.992 5 JAN MAGNUSSEN
18 3 PC 8 FILIPE ALBUQUERQUE ORECA FLM09 133 5 LAPS 1.645 5 FILIPE ALBUQUERQUE
19 6 GTLM 62 DAVIDE RIGON FERRARI F458 ITALIA 133 5 LAPS 19.107 5 GIANCARLO FISICHELLA
20 7 GTLM 911 MARC LIEB PORSCHE 911 RSR 133 5 LAPS 19.914 5 PATRICK PILET
21 4 PC 38 JEROME MEE ORECA FLM09 133 5 LAPS 13.241 6 SEAN JOHNSTON
22 11 P 66 DAVID CHENG BMW POWER RILEY DP 133 5 LAPS 38.220 6 DAVID CHENG
23 8 GTLM 51 GIANMARIA BRUNI FERRARI 458 ITALIA 132 6 LAPS 1 LAP 6 GIANMARIA BRUNI
24 1 GTD 63 ANTHONY LAZZARO FERRARI 458 ITALIA 131 7 LAPS 1 LAP 4 ANTHONY LAZZARO
25 2 GTD 22 LEH KEEN PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 131 7 LAPS 11.537 5 SHANE VAN GISBERGEN
26 3 GTD 48 CHRISTOPHER HAASE AUDI R8 LMS 131 7 LAPS 0.018 4 RENE RAST
27 4 GTD 81 KUBA GIERMAZIAK PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 131 7 LAPS 2.896 5 KUBA GIERMAZIAK
28 5 GTD 33 BEN KEATING DODGE VIPER SRT 131 7 LAPS 7.250 6 JEROEN BLEEKEMOLEN
29 6 GTD 44 MARTIN RAGGINGER PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 131 7 LAPS 7.195 4 MARCO SEEFRIED
30 7 GTD 49 PASIN LATHOURAS FERRARI 458 ITALIA 131 7 LAPS 1.682 5 RUI AGUAS
31 8 GTD 93 KUNO WITTMER DODGE VIPER SRT 131 7 LAPS 6.847 7 KUNO WITTMER
32 9 GTD 64 FRANCISCO LONGO FERRARI 458 ITALIA 131 7 LAPS 32.550 6 DANIEL SERRA
33 10 GTD 007 BRANDON DAVIS ASTON MARTIN V12 VANTAGE 130 8 LAPS 1 LAP 4 JAMES DAVISON
34 11 GTD 73 KEVIN ESTRE PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 130 8 LAPS 56.839 4 SPENCER PUMPELLY
35 12 GTD 18 NIKOLAUS MAYR MELNHOF PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 129 9 LAPS 1 LAP 3 MARC BASSENG
36 13 GTD 23 MARIO FARNBACHER PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 129 9 LAPS 19.060 6 ALEX RIBERAS
37 14 GTD 28 ROLF INEICHEN PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 129 9 LAPS 10.961 5 CHRISTOPHER ZOECHLING
38 5 PC 52 MIKE GUASCH ORECA FLM09 129 9 LAPS 0.257 5 TOM KIMBER-SMITH
39 9 GTLM 912 EARL BAMBER PORSCHE 911 RSR 128 10 LAPS 1 LAP 5 JORG BERGMEISTER
40 12 P 07 BEN DEVLIN MAZDA PROTOTYPE 128 10 LAPS 1:16.854 4 TOM LONG
41 15 GTD 009 MAX RIDDLE ASTON MARTIN V12 VANTAGE 127 11 LAPS 1 LAP 5 MAX RIDDLE
42 16 GTD 58 MADISON SNOW PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 125 13 LAPS 2 LAPS 3 PHILIPP ENG
43 6 PC 16 TOMY DRISSI ORECA FLM09 124 14 LAPS 1 LAP 7 JOHNNY MOWLEM
44 13 P 31 ERIC CURRAN CORVETTE DP 121 17 LAPS 3 LAPS 6 MAX PAPIS
45 7 PC 11 BRUNO JUNQUEIRA ORECA FLM09 106 32 LAPS 15 LAPS 4 BRUNO JUNQUEIRA
46 14 P 50 DAVID HINTON BMW POWER RILEY DP 101 37 LAPS 5 LAPS 7 DORSEY SCHROEDER
47 17 GTD 45 TOMONOBU FUJII AUDI R8 LMS 98 40 LAPS 3 LAPS 6 MARKUS WINKELHOCK
48 8 PC 61 MARC DRUMWRIGHT ORECA FLM09 90 48 LAPS 8 LAPS 3 MARTIN PLOWMAN
49 10 GTLM 98 MATHIAS LAUDA ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE V8 84 54 LAPS 6 LAPS 5 MATHIAS LAUDA
50 18 GTD 19 JIM MICHAELIAN PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 78 60 LAPS 6 LAPS 3 CONNOR DE PHILLIPPI
51 15 P 2 JOHANNES VAN OVERBEEK HONDA HPD ARX 49 89 LAPS 29 LAPS 2 JOHANNES VAN OVERBEEK
52 16 P 0 ANDY MEYRICK DELTAWING DWC13 42 96 LAPS 7 LAPS 2 ANDY MEYRICK
53 19 GTD 97 MICHAEL MARSAL BMW Z4 39 99 LAPS 3 LAPS 5 MARKUS PALTTALA

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