2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona Becomes Closest in History of International 24-Hour Motorsports Races; Less than two tenths of a second separated winners and runners-up
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 26, 2009) - This past weekend's running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona was the closest finish in the 47-year history of the event. It was also believed to be the closest contested finish in the history of major international 24-hour endurance racing.
After 24 hours of racing, David Donohue edged Juan Pablo Montoya to the checkered flag by .167 seconds.
Donohue, who started on the pole position and drove the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley with co-drivers Darren Law, 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice and Spaniard Antonio Garcia, celebrated the 40th anniversary of his father's victory in the event. The late Mark Donohue joined Chuck Parsons in winning the 1969 event at the wheel of a Penske Racing Chevrolet-powered Lola T70.
Montoya, co-driving with 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 co-champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, had a personal two-race winning streak snapped in the No. 01 TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley, with the team seeking its fourth consecutive Rolex 24 victory.
The former record for closest finish of the Rolex 24 was 30.926 seconds, set in 2000. Sunday, four drivers shattered that mark. Joao Barbosa finished third in the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley, 5.504 seconds back, while Max Angelelli in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara was fourth, a mere 10.589 seconds behind after 24 hours of racing.
The closest contested finish of the 24 Hours of Le Mans was 120 meters - approximately one second - when Jacky Ickx in a John Wyer Ford GT40 held off the Porsche 908 of Hans Hermann in 1969. The finish of the 1966 classic was 20 yards, in the staged three-wide finish of a trio of GT40s in Ford's breakthrough triumph.
The closest timed finish in the history of the French endurance race was in 2004, with 41 seconds separating the top two cars at the conclusion of the race.