2013 Daytona 24 Hours: Another win for Ganassi and Audi
After 24 hours, 709 laps were displayed on the scoring tower. This results in a travelled distance of 3,981.839 km (2,474.200 mi) and an average speed of 169,141 kph (105.122 mph) 12 cars with 24 drivers had at least one lap in the lead. 77 times did the lead change. 16 times, the race was neutralized with the safety car for a total of 121 laps, the longest occasion was 31 laps for fog. At the end of the day Juan Pablo Montoya, Charlie Kimball, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas win the race twice around the clock. For Montoya and Rojas it is the third victory in Florida, for Scott Pruett even the fifth. Hurley Haywood is the only other five-time winner. Moreover it marks the 3rd win for a BWM engine and 9th consecutive win for cars of Riley Technologies. Since 2005 no other constructor was able to grab the most prestigious race win of the Grand Am season.
The 01 car of Chip Ganassi Racing dominated the race, leading 421 of the 709 laps. It also is the fifth victory for the team, which started the race with two cars, but the second BMW engined Riley of Ganassi retired with three hours left on the clock due to technical problems. For though Ganassi led the majority of the laps, the final hour turned into an intense fight for the victory. After Grand Am deployed the Safety Car for debris on the race track the top three Daytona Prototypes were in reach of each other. Montoya, Max Angelelli (Velocity) and A.J. Allmendinger (Michael-Shank-Racing) had a three-way fight for the victory until Allmendinger made a trip through Florida’s grass trying to lap the Action Express car. With six minutes to go the Ganassi car entered the pitlane for a final splash of fuel. Angelelli did the same one lap later. But Angelelli struggled with his tyres, loosing not onlythe first place due to the pitstop, but also further 22 seconds on the last laps. Velocity finished in second, Michael Shank Racing saw the flag as third and last on the lead lap.
But not only the DP race saw a late decision. The “DTM-R8″ of Filipe Albuquerque, Oliver Jarvis, Edoardo Mortara and Dion von Molke, entered by Alex Job Racing, took the class win over the second of three Audi Sport Customer cars entered by APR. On the last lap Rene Rast made a spectacular outside overtake to pass the third R8 with Audi factory drivers by Rum Bum, which eventually rolled out with no fuel left on the Backstraight. It is not olny Audi’s first win in Daytona, but it also completes Audi’s list of wins at classic 24 hour races in the last 12 monts: Audi won the Nürburgring, Le Mans and Spa 24 hours in 2012. If it was Tennis, this would be a Grand Slam. Rum Bum was not the only car to run out of fuel on the final lap, the Porsche of last year winner Magnus Racing had the same faith. This opened the door for the AIM and Scuderia Corse Ferraris to reach third and fourth place respectively.
The new GX class turned out to be a desaster for Mazda. All Mazda6 retired early. Napleton Racing with David Donohue, Nelson Canache, Shane Lewis and Jim Norman wins the inaugual race for the new category.
The race coverage will be available on Grand-Am.com. Endurance fans don’t have to wait too long for the next race: The 12 hours of Bathurst are on the schedule for Febuary 10th.
Images and Video by Phil Diaz
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