Rolex 24 20-Hour Report: ...
Rolex 24 20-Hour Report: #65 GTO.R Still Second In GT #65 TRG GTO.R Less than One Lap Behind #36 TPC Racing Porsche; #75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley Advances Position
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - As the sun rises on Daytona International Speedway over the Rolex 24 At Daytona, less than a quarter of the 24-hour endurance race remains. The GT class battle for first still continues, with the #65 TRG Pontiac GTO.R close behind the #36 TPC Racing Porsche. After a driver change before sunrise, co-driver Johnny O'Connell remained confident that there was a definite chance for a first-place GT finish.
"We actually battled in my first stint. We've been on-and-off for first place over a long period of time," said O'Connell. "I don't know whether or not it was pit strategy or what but somewhere we lost a lap to them. We're on the same lap now and it's quite a fight. We're going as hard as we can - the car is running great."
On the Daytona Prototype front, the #75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley remains the highest ranking Pontiac at sixth place. The team has moved up one place since the 17th hour of the race and co-driver Jörg Bergmeister will now drive a double stint in an effort to hold their position.
"Right now we're just concentrating on staying where we are at," remarked the German. "We are down a fair amount of laps because we spent some time in the garage to look at the gearbox. It's working well now; I'm well rested and ready for my turn behind the wheel. I think we can hold it."
A leading DP car, the #01 Lexus Riley of Scott Pruett, Luis Diaz and Max Papis - who enjoyed top-five positions for much of the third quarter of the race - withdrew on the 524th lap due to a failed oil pump. That left the #02 Lexus Riley, the #58 Porsche Fabcar and the #60 Lexus Riley in the top three, respectively.
"We're proud of the effort that our DP teams have put into the race so far," said Jim Hopson, manager of communication for Pontiac. "The class has become extremely competitive this year and the 75 pounds of added weight that Grand American has required for 5.0 L engines this year has definitely made a difference. However, we still have a number of our cars on the track and their effort gives us a lot of optimism for a successful season."