Standing Water calls time on Rolex 24H at Daytona
Fernando Alonso shows he’s as good as anyone in atrocious conditions, driving his team to victory during the weekend’s shortened Rolex 24H at Daytona, Florida.
He and Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac teammates – Dutchman Renger van der Zande, Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi and American Jordan Taylor – took out the drenched USA classic at the Spaniard’s second attempt. The dual F1 world champ had taken the lead in the #10 Cadillac DPi-V.R from Brazilian Felipe Nasr’s #31 Action Express Racing Cadillac just before the race was canned. Nasr, countryman Pipo Derani and American Eric Curran were second. The #7 Acura ARX-05 of Brazil’s Helio Castroneves, IndyCar star Alexander Rossi and fellow American Ricky Taylor finished third.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener finally was abandoned at 23 hours and 50 minutes, when standing water proved simply too dangerous. Those who took their place on the podium completed 593 laps of the 4km track.
Ryan Briscoe – behind the wheel of the #67 Ford GT with Kiwi Scott Dixon and Brit Richard Westbrook – was the best of the Australian drivers, crossing the line 12th overall.
Perth racer James Allen, 22, piloting the #81 ORECA LMP2 alongside French ace Nicolas Lapierre, Sweden’s Henrik Hedman and Brit Ben Hanley was a creditable 15th among the 47 entries that finished the grueling event. James has been campaigning around the globe now for years and ACM will be keeping a close eye on his progress during 2019.
Queenslander Matt Campbell crossed the line 24th sharing the helm with American trio Patrick Long, Patrick Lindsey and Nicholas Boulle in their Porsche 911 GT3 R. The 23-year-old Porsche Young Professional won the GTE Am class on his Le Mans 24H debut last year. Supercars Chaz Mostert and his buddies Italian Alex Zanardi, American John Edwards and Fin Jesse Krohn were plagued by steering issues and a puncture to bring their #24 BMW M8 home in 32nd, just ahead of the #57Acura NSX GT3 of the formidable team of Swiss “Aussie” Simona de Silvestro, Katherine Legge (UK), Christina Nielsen (Denmark) and Ana Beatriz (Brazil).
Meanwhile, my mate Sebastien Ogier continues to raise the bar at the World Rally Championship. The affable Frenchman overcame a throttle pedal issue with his Citroen to win the weekend’s Monte Carlo Rally. “My relief was,” he said with true Gallic poise, “incredible!” And hats off too to American Sam Bird who took his Virgin Racing machine to his first win of the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E season in Santiago, Chile.
EDITED by AC