The 2019 IMSA WeatherTech Championship’s Rolex 24 at Daytona had an anti-climatic end with rain disrupting much of Sunday morning run with team of #10 Konica Minolta Cadillac Wayne Taylor Racing winning the event.
The team of Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande, Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayashi were victorious at the end of 24 hours of the famous Daytona race in the IMSA’s WeatherTech Championship after starting sixth in their #10 Cadillac in the lead DPi class.
With multiple contenders in the fray, the lead changed several times with the sister Cadillac of #31 Whelen Engineering Racing of Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani and Eric Curran also posing a strong challenge with the #10 Cadillac.
The two Acura Team Penske were in the game for long as well with the #6 crew of Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud & Dane Cameron and #7 crew of Alexander Rossi, Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor showing their strong hand.
The challenge from the two Mazda Team Joset blew early with pole-sitter #77 crew of Rene Rast, Timo Bernhard, Oliver Jarvis & Tristan Nunez facing engine troubles on Saturday while the #55 crew of Olivier Pla, Harry Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito car caught fire.
The two cars retired early on which limited the victory fight to the two Cadillacs and Penskes but it came down to the three with only #10 Cadillac, #31 Cadillac and #7 Penske in the lead lap when the #6 Penske dropped out with a suspected issue under rain.
It left the three cars to tussle among themselves as rain continued to fall from the morning of Sunday until the race end. A crucial green period towards the end made the difference when Alonso in the #10 Cadillac got past the #31 Cadillac driven by Nasr.
The track remained tricky to drive which caught out Nasr as Alonso made the most to take the lead when the race was red flagged again. However, it was the last racing action seen at Daytona with the officials deciding to end the race with 593 laps run – they waited late for the weather to clear but were forced to end it with 10 minutes remaining on the clock.
The result helped Alonso to score his first-ever Daytona 24 Hours win as was for Kobayashi and van der Zande while Taylor scored his second. Even though it doesn’t count towards his Triple Crown quest, Alonso managed to win another big-ticket event after Le Mans.
The crew of #31 Cadillac ended up second with Nasr, Derani and Curran scoring another podium while #7 Penske rounded out the Top 3 with Rossi and Castrovenes claiming their first podium with Taylor scoring his fourth.
Down by four laps, the #54 Core Autosport Nissan of Loic Duval, Romain Dumas, Jonathan Bennett and Colin Braun finished fourth ahead of #85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac of Rubens Barrichello, Devlin Defrancesco, Tristan Vautier and Misha Goikhberg – they were seven laps down.
These were the only five DPi cars ahead of the first of the LMP2 car with #6 Penske of Montoya, Pagenaud and Cameron finishing sixth in class but eighth overall ahead of #5 Cadillac of Filipe Albuquerque, Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa.
They were 17 and 20 laps down the leader but crucially saw the finish after an oil pump issue in the race. Only one more car finished in the DPi class with the #50 Juncos Racing Cadillac of Rene Binder, Agustin Canapino, Will Owen and Kyle Kaiser in 30th overall.
Joining the two Mazda cars in the retirement list from the DPi class was the #84 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac of Chris Miller, Juan Piedrahita, Stephen Simson and Simon Trummer. Meanwhile, the LMP2 class saw all the four cars finishing who entered.
The #18 DragonSpeed Oreca of Ryen Cullen, Pastor Maldonado, Roberto Gonzalez and Sebastian Saavedra took the victory in class as they finished sixth overall with 582 laps in their kitty which was four more than the second placed team.
The #38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca of Cameron Cassels, Kyle Masson, Robert Masson and Kris Wright ended up second in seventh overall with the #81 DragonSpeed Oreca of Ben Hanley, Henrik Hedman, James Allen and Nicolas Lapierre rounding the Top 3.
They finished 15th overall after leading handsomely until 22 hours when the car stopped on track. The #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca of Gabriel Aubry, Enzo Guibbert, Mark Kvamme and Matt McMurry ended up 37th overall.
GTLM and GTD
The GTLM lead changed at the 21st hour when the early leaders #911 Porsche GT Team’s Nick Tandy, Frederic Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet collided with #66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Joey Hand, Sebastian Bourdais and Dirk Muller – resulting in both pitting.
It put #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari of James Calado, Miguel Molina, Davide Rigon and Alessandro Pier Guidi in front but not for long as #25 BMW Team RLL’s Augusto Farfus, Colton Herta and Philipp Eng passed them for the lead and victory in class.
The German outfit were 10th overall with the #62 Ferrari in 11th as the podium was completed by #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe with the two Porsche of #912 and #911 lining up fourth and fifth respectively.
The #11 Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Rik Breukers, Rolf Ineichen, Christian Engelhart and Mirko Bortolotti won the GTD class from #29 Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi of Dries Vanthoor, Daniel Morad, Christopher Miles and Ricardo Feller.
They were 17th and 18th respectively overall as the Top 3 was completed by #12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 with the #88 WRT Speedstar Audi Sport Audi R8 LMS Evo and #86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 in Top 5.
Elsewhere, the GTLM class had a special runner with Alex Zanardi driving the #24 BMW while the GTD class had an all-female team in the #57 Acura NSX. The former finished 32nd with the latter in 33rd as they were ninth and 13th respectively in their classes.
— #MsportXtra (@MsportXtra) January 27, 2019