Rolex 24 at Daytona resumes after rain delay

Jan 30, 2019, 00:43
Rolex 24 at Daytona resumes after rain delay

The Cadillac DPi-V.R teams have won the last three 24 Hours of Daytona races in a row as Fernando Alonso took the black and blue Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing vehicle across the finish line for the final time some two hours before the race time clock ran out. Most of the final eight hours was run under a yellow flag and racing was halted under red-flag conditions for the final two hours of the event.

"This is not part of the Triple Crown, but if I win Indianapolis, this will be Quadruple Crown", Alonso said.

Alonso drove a Cadillac DPi to the front of the field in each of his three stints in the Rolex, including the final pass for the lead minutes before IMSA finally parked the cars.

Alonso, who retired from F1 at the end of the 2018 season, is the third F1 champion to win after Phil Hill and Mario Andretti. "The safety auto was pointing toward the wall at one point".

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Winning at Daytona is most definitely also a priority and Alonso this year joined the organization that won the Rolex two seasons ago.

"I think it will rank very high", Alonso said.

The 32-year-old Dutchman, who most recently brought home a thrilling win for the team on the last turn of the last lap of last year's season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, played it relatively conservatively during his opening stint and led 18 laps before handing the auto back to Taylor in the wee hours of Sunday morning. This year's lineup is considerably different from 2017, when Jeff Gordon was the star driver. The race was called 10 minutes short of completion because heavy rain had created driving conditions too risky to continue.

"I'm very, very proud of the job that we achieved, but it was not a one-day job, it was a one-month job", Alonso said. "I need to be very calm and clever with the decisions for the future".

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The LMP2 class was won by the No. 18 DragonSpeed Oreca with drivers Roberto Gonzalez, Pastor Maldonado, Sebastian Saavedra and Ryan Cullen, while the No. 11 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan won the GT Daytona class for the second consecutive year with Rolf Ineichen, Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Englehart and Rik Breukers.

He drove again early Sunday morning and had the vehicle out front for a lengthy yellow period that ultimately ended in the first stoppage for rain since 2004.

"It was a very hard race".

Although he did a vehicle swap with seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson in November and ran exhibition laps in a stock auto, Alonso said at Daytona that NASCAR events are not now on his radar. I think in the past it was a little bit more open - motorsport in general - but now every series became very professional, and you need to take full dedication to each series and each driving style, things like that.

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