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24 Hours of Daytona ... 7.21am the race was red flagged as the conditions continued to deteriorate with more intense rain


# 10 Cadillac DPi - Renger Van Der Zande _ Jordan Taylor _ Fernando Alonso _ Kamui Kobayashi

# 10 Cadillac DPi - Renger Van Der Zande _ Jordan Taylor _ Fernando Alonso _ Kamui Kobayashi

Porsche 911 RSR (912), Porsche GT Team_ Earl Bamber, Mathieu Jaminet, Laurens Vanthoor

Porsche 911 RSR (912), Porsche GT Team_ Earl Bamber, Mathieu Jaminet, Laurens Vanthoor

 

Daytona, 26-27 January, 2019

The Rolex 24 at Daytona once again attracted a stellar entry list of cars and drivers across the four classes, with the LMP2 entrants having their own class this year instead of being part of the main prototype class. There were a total of 47 entries, with 11 in the DPi class, 4 in the LMP2 class, 9 in the GTLM class, and 23 in the increasingly popular GTD class. Amongst the star names were 2005 and 2006 F1 Drivers’ World Champion Fernando Alonso, and another two high profile former F1 drivers Rubens Barichello and Juan Pablo Montoya, plus double amputee Alex Zanardi who was driving for BMW in the GTLM class. There was also a host of other well known names, a number initially from the monoposto world, but now more usually associated with prototype or GT racing, including Sebastian Bourdais, Kamui Kobayashi, Pedro Lamy and Pastor Maldonado. 

The qualifying sessions saw Oliver Jarvis in the # 77 Mazda Team Joest Mazda DPi take pole position in a record qualifying time of 1min 33.685secs. This broke the existing track record of 1min 33.875secs set by PJ Jones in 1993 in the No. 98 Toyota Eagle Mk III. The # 77 Mazda was just 0.188sec faster than the # 7 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi driven by Ricky Taylor, which was followed by the sister # 6 Acura driven by Juan Pablo Montoya, whilst the top seven qualifiers were covered by less than a second. In the LMP2 category the qualifying spoils were taken by the # 81 DragonSpeed entered Oreca LMP2 driven by James Allen, with GTLM honours going to the # 911 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Nick Tandy, whilst in the GTD class it was the # 13 Via Italia entered Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Marcos Gomes that topped the time sheets, the third year in a row that a Ferrari has achieved this in the class.



As is the norm with endurance races these days, the race started as though it was a short distance sprint race right through the field. Initially it was the pole sitting # 77 Mazda that led the way, but with the first round of pit stops the pendulum swung to the # 6 Acura, which led through the second hour, relinquishing the position to the # 10 Cadillac at the next round of stops, so three different makes led through the first three hours, and during the fourth hour there were no less than 12 lead changes. The battles and position changes in the other classes were just as intense, and despite a Balance of Performance deficit, the # 62 GTLM class Risi Competizione entered Ferrari was holding its own, swapping the class lead position with the other protagonists, due in no small part to its stellar driver line-up, probably the strongest in the GT field.                                                       

The rain that had been forecast eventually arrived at around 4.30am, and its intensity increased gradually, causing very poor visibility due to the spray being thrown up, and also standing water in places, particularly at the bus-stop chicane. A full course yellow was occasioned at 6.04am, when the # 4 Corvette crashed. This ran through to 7.21am when the race was red flagged as the conditions continued to deteriorate with more intense rain. The race was eventually restarted, but the rain continued to fall, making it really tough for the drivers and pit crews, turning it into a real battle for survival in truly miserable conditions. With a little over two hours remaining of the race, the # 10 Cadillac in the hands of Fernando Alonso took the lead, when Felipe Nasr spun off  1 in the # 31 Whelen Engineering entered example. Ten minutes later, with the rain increasing, in intensity the race was red flagged for the second time, making it the first time in its history that it was red flagged twice. Conditions remained dire and too dangerous, so it was decided to declare the race result as at the time of the last red flag. This gave the # 10 Wayne Taylor racing entered Cadillac, driven by Van Der Zande / J. Taylor / Alonso / Kobayashi its second Rolex 24 at Daytona victory in three years. Despite its spin the # 31 Cadillac driven by Nasr / Curran / Derani recovered to take 2nd place, whilst the # 7 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi driven by R. Taylor / Castroneves / Rossi completed the overall podium, and these were the only cars to finish on the lead lap.

In the LMP2 class victory went to the # 18, DragonSpeed Oreca LMP2, driven by Gonzalez / Maldonado / Saavedra / Cullen, despite Saavedra crashing just before the second red flag period, but managed to get it running, so for them the red flag proved to be fortuitous. It wasn’t as fortuitous for the # 62 Risi entered Ferrari in the GTLM class, for which the rain had proved to be an equaliser in terms of their BoP stilted performance, as they were in a position to take the class lead within three laps when the red flag was called. However, 2nd in class was a fine effort, although the driving quartet of Rigon/M. Molina/A. Pier Guidi/J. Calado were disappointed in not taking the class win. In the GTD class victory went to the # 11 GRT Grasser Racing entered Lamborghini Huracan GT3, driven by Ineichin / Bortolotti / Engelhardt / Breukers despite an early race penalty of 3mins 40secs for an improper final wave-by, which had dropped it to 16th in class at the six hour mark. In this class both the # 29 Audi and # 63 Ferrari were given post race penalties for drive time violations, dropping them to the tail of the results table.

Podiums

DPi Class & Overall

1st – # 10, Cadillac DPi, R. Van Der Zande / J. Taylor / F. Alonso / K. Kobayashi
2nd – # 31, Cadillac DPi, F. Nasr / E. Curran / P. Derani
3rd – # 7, Acura DPi, R. Taylor / H. Castroneves / A. Rossi

LMP2 Class

1st – # 18, Oreca LMP2, R. Gonzalez / P. Maldonado / S. Saavedra / R. Cullen
2nd – # 38, Oreca LMP2, K. Massan / R. Massan / C. Cassels / K. Wright
3rd – # 81, Oreca LMP2, H. Hedman / B. Hanley / N. Lapierre / J. Allen

GTLM Class

1st – # 25, BMW M8 GTE, A. Farfus / C. De Phillippi / P. Eng / C. Herta
2nd – # 62, Ferrari 488 GTE, D. Rigon / M. Molina / A. Pier Guidi / J. Calado
3rd – # 912, Porsche 911 RSR, E. Bamber / L. Vanthoor / M. Jaminet

GTD Class

1st – 11, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, R. Ineichin / M. Bortolotti / C. Engelhardt /

R. Breukers
2nd – 29, Audi R8 LMS GT3, D. Morad / C. Mies / R. Feller / D. Vanthoor
3rd – 12, Lexus RC F GT3, F. Montecalvo / T. Bell / A. Telitz / J. Segal

 

Ferrari Entry

 

Race #

Model

Chassis #

Team

Colour

Drivers

Position

 

 

 

 

 

 

O/A

Cl.

Class GTLM

62

Ferrari 488 GTE

3820

Risi Competizione

Red

A. Pier Guidi /
J. Calado /
D. Rigon /
M. Molina

11th

2nd

Class GTD

13

Ferrari 488 GT3

4450

Via Italia

Red-Yellow- Green-Blue

A. Bertolini /
C. Longo /
M. Gomes /
V. Franzoni

25th

9th

51

Ferrari 488 GT3

4440

Spirit of Race

Red- White & Blue Flashes

P. Dalla Lana /
P. Lamy /
D. Serra /
M. Lauda

43rd

21st

63

Ferrari 488 GT3

4426

Scuderia Corsa

White- Black & Grey Flashes

C. MacNeil /
D. Farnbacher /
T. Vilander /
J. Westphal

47th *

23rd

 

Keith Bluemel         
02/2019