Sascha Maassen's Rolex 24 At Daytona race was thwarted by mechanical and electrical gremlins. Maassen, of Raeren, Belgium, shared driving duty in the No. 39 Cheever Racing Porsche-powered Crawford with Eddie Cheever of Indianapolis, Emmanuel...
Sascha Maassen's Rolex 24 At Daytona race was thwarted by mechanical and electrical gremlins. Maassen, of Raeren, Belgium, shared driving duty in the No. 39 Cheever Racing Porsche-powered Crawford with Eddie Cheever of Indianapolis, Emmanuel Collard of Champs-sur-Marne, France, and Christian Fittipaldi of Key Biscayne, Fla.
Fittipaldi qualified the car 13th on the 70-car grid, with a lap of one minute 44.890 seconds on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway infield road course in Daytona Beach, Fla. He drove the first stint of the race, followed by Maassen, Collard and Fittipaldi.
The drivers had moved up to third place when Maassen stopped in the horseshoe turn in the infield at 10h20. He was towed to the garage, where the team replaced a gear cluster and transaxle. He returned to the track eight laps down.
Collard also encountered problems in the 17th hour, caused by a short in an electrical wiring harness. The drivers persevered to finish 14th in the Daytona Prototype class, 24th overall.
"We had a good start and we were on the highest position, P3 [position 3], which was promising. In lap time, we were pretty close to the quickest and our car had the potential to do well, maybe a top-five finish," Maassen said. "Then we had a gearbox problem that dropped us down a lot because we didn't have a spare at that time. We lost almost two hours. We had no big further problems, but one big problem is enough, I think."
Maassen will return next year, hoping to top the impressive international entry:
"Victory is always a challenge, but this is one of the biggest races I'm in. You're fighting with guys from all over the world -- the best racing drivers -- and it's a lot of fun. So I want to do it again. And I want to beat them next time!"