Daytona 24: Marino Franchitti race report

Marino Franchitti and Co take 8th Overall in Daytona 24 Hours When Milka Duno took the chequered flag yesterday afternoon at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in Florida it marked an incredible comeback for Marino Franchitti and the CITGO/SAMAX team...

Marino Franchitti and Co take 8th Overall in Daytona 24 Hours

When Milka Duno took the chequered flag yesterday afternoon at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in Florida it marked an incredible comeback for Marino Franchitti and the CITGO/SAMAX team following a broken driveshaft which happened on Saturday evening just over eight hours into the 24 hour marathon.

Dario Franchitti had put the No. 7 CITGO Riley Pontiac in 16th place on the 66 car grid after turning a qualifying lap of 1:45.673 on Friday - a very good effort considering the car had encountered a few problems during the very short 15 minute session. Whilst the No. 7 car was quick on the infield section of the Daytona Speedway course, it was considerably down on power for the long straights. .

Dario began the race on Saturday at noon, and for the first 7 hours it was a trouble-free run with the drivers each taking their turn at the wheel, Milka Duno followed Dario into the seat, then Marino took the wheel and finally Kevin McGarrity made up the fourth stint.

The car was running very strongly, each driver putting in steady, fast laps. At 7.25pm local time the CITGO car overtook the No. 58 Porsche and moved up into 2nd place overall.

As Milka began her second stint just one lap later the driveshaft problem occurred. The CITGO Riley Pontiac was taken behind the wall for repairs, but by the time Marino got back behind the wheel following the repairs the team were already over 30 laps down on the lead car.

The drivers dug in deep for the long haul, "It's very disappointing we had the driveshaft failure", said Marino at the half-way stage. "It's the only non-routine piece of maintenance we've carried out; everything else has been running like clockwork; the engine hasn't missed a beat".

From then on the No. 7 CITGO Riley Pontiac kept up it's reliability and lap after lap the four drivers gradually made up place after place. When the chequered flag finally fell at 12.10pm with Milka Duno at the wheel, the No. 7 car was in 8th place overall having covered 695 laps of the 3.6mile track.

The race was won by the Target Chip Ganassi Lexus Riley.

"I'm really happy to finish" said a tired but very cheeful Marino. "Without the half-shaft problem we would have been in the top three so that's disappointing. But this is my third Daytona 24 Hours and my first finish, and to be in the top ten given the problems we had is testament not only to the CITGO/SAMAX team, but to my teammates Dario, Milka and Kevin".

-kwa-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Milka Duno , Dario Franchitti , Kevin McGarrity , Marino Franchitti , Chip Ganassi