Daytona 24: TRG Porsches race report

TRG Porsches Finish 4th, 14th, 19th and 23rd at Daytona Daytona Beach, Florida m- TRG's four Porsches finished 4th, 14th, 19th and 23rd, in the 44th running of the Grand American Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Reserve Rolex 24 at Daytona...

TRG Porsches Finish 4th, 14th, 19th and 23rd at Daytona

Daytona Beach, Florida m- TRG's four Porsches finished 4th, 14th, 19th and 23rd, in the 44th running of the Grand American Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Reserve Rolex 24 at Daytona today.

The number 66/Comfort Systems/TRG/Porsche 997 was rebuilt by the crew after several incidents in the practice days leading up to the 24 hours. Once the race started the team of Steve Johnson, Robert Nearn, Cyrille Sauvage and Stephane Ortelli ran a near perfect race to just miss the podium. The only time the 66 was in the pits for an extended period is when they were hit by another car going into the Bus Stop and the wheel was broken.

Steve Johnson: "With the way that the three day test went and the practice days I'd say I would take fourth any day. We really wanted third place after our tough practice days. The car really an well and the four of us did a good job of keeping out of the pits and on the track to finish with a good result."

Robert Nearn: "I never would have guessed we would have made it this far with the trouble we had in practice. We did more damage to that poor car in one practice session than we did in the whole 24 hour race. Everything came together for the race and fourth is a good result for us after our tough practice outings."

Cyrille Sauvage: "Fourth is not bad, we were hoping for a podium. In the free practice we did less than 30 laps in three days. Considering where we started, a top four position is a great result. The crew did a great job to stay on top of the car and make the repairs and get us a pretty good racecar."

Stephane Ortelli: "We started in 19th and ran as high fourth where we finished. The team made the repairs from practice under pressure and was able to provide a good car. I was just imagining the car we would have had if we gave them time to do the proper preparation instead of repairing practice damage. Towards the end we were running competitive times with the GT front runners."

The number 67 team took a conservative approach to the race, looking to listen to their spotters to get through traffic and drive defensively. Each driver did four stints and they were able to finish in fourteenth. The only problem they had was slight contact in the infield which bent the rear fender onto the wheel as well as a late night transmission change. The teammates honored Dave Master with a good finish, who was supposed to drive with them, but passed away in mid December.

Pat Flanagan: "We had a good car the whole 24. We were hit once and had to do the trans, but that was it. It was really a great experience, my teammates were all good drivers, we stuck to our plan and we had a good result in fourteenth."

Bill Keith: "I really did not know what to expect. Our strategy worked out great, we wanted to be in a defensive mode and we drove smart listening to our spotters. There are a lot of drivers out there wishing they finished where we did."Marc Bullock: "We are four gentleman drivers that were able to put together a great finish. We raced to a plan and it worked out. It was a great experience and the team did a great job."

Bohdan Kroczek: "We had a very good finish. We had some small issues, but over 24 hours that is not unexpected. The experience of running the full 24 hours and finishing in 14th is a great result for us."

The three man team of Jim Pace, Revere Greist and Jim Lowe in the number 68 were the high qualifiers of the TRG Porsches and also the first to run into trouble. An early spin by Jim Lowe produced some rear end damage. The TRG crew worked hard on the car they were able to rejoin the race in the early evening. After that the car and drivers didn't miss a mark and were able to persevere and finish in 19th in GT.

Jim Pace: "We ran to our plan except for our early incident. We all were able to run good long stints uninterrupted by any real problems. It was a real pleasure to run with Jim and Revere and get a good finish after a tough start to the race."

Jim Lowe: "Our first goal was to finish. After my spin and damage the TRG crew did a great job to get us back into the race. After that we settled in and ran to our plan. Other than that first incident we really didn't put a scratch on the car. It was my first time in the 24 hour and it was great." Revere Greist: "We had a set back at the beginning. The guys worked hard to get us back into the race. At night I was triple stinting and again during the day, that is a lot of work. After all that happened we ended up having a pretty good race."

The number 69 car driven by Josh Vargo, Jake Vargo, Mark Herrington and Brady Refenning wasn withdrawn due to damage and was categorized in 23rd place at the end of the race.

"The GT race was really strong this year," said Kevin Buckler, team owner. "Our Porsche drivers and teams all did a great job. We had a great mix of guys and the spirit of competition within the team translated to performance on the track."

-trg

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Stéphane Ortelli , Kevin Buckler , Jim Pace , Robert Nearn , Bill Keith , Josh Vargo , Bohdan Kroczek , Dave Master , Brady Refenning , Mark Herrington , Steve Johnson , Jake Vargo , Marc Bullock , Jim Lowe , Revere Greist , Cyrille Sauvage