Daytona, Fla. -- Nic Jonsson scored a podium finish in his first Rolex 24 at Daytona after battling heavy rain and mechanical problems during the grueling 24-hour endurance race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. He and co-drivers Rob...
Daytona, Fla. -- Nic Jonsson scored a podium finish in his first Rolex 24 at Daytona after battling heavy rain and mechanical problems during the grueling 24-hour endurance race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. He and co-drivers Rob Dyson, Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Max Papis drove the No. 20 Dyson Racing Riley & Scott to third place in the top-level SportsRacing Prototype class.
Team owner Dyson started the race in fifth place overall. Swedish racer Jonsson, now living in Aliso Viejo, Calif., drove his first stint during the early evening fifth hour. Rain knocked out the car's radio communications, but Jonsson held third place and regained a lap lost earlier in the race.
His second stint, during the late-night 10th and 11th hours, was slowed by the loss of first and second gear and a loose shifter. The team worked on the car during a caution period that started just after Jonsson pitted, and he returned to the race in fourth place overall.
Extensive repairs were needed after 13 hours 30 minutes, with a two-hour pit stop to replace the transmission input shaft. The car returned to the race fifth in the prototype class, 29th overall. Jonsson and Papis then alternated with double and triple stints through the night. They set the fastest night laps of the race, regained five laps as Jonsson passed the race leaders three times and Papis twice, and moved back up to third in class.
"It rained so hard during the night, it was unbelievable. It was like rivers running across the track. It was very difficult and dangerous to drive," Jonsson said. "But it was a lot of fun to drive with Max. He's a very good driver, of course, but also very helpful."
The car lost a class position when the clutch broke with 90 minutes to go. Jonsson drove his final stint during the last hour of the race and retook third place. Dyson drove the final 15 minutes to finish third in the prototype class, 19th overall.
"It was a great experience for me to run my first 24 hours of Daytona with such a competitive and professional team," Jonsson said. "Even though we had mechanical problems, I learned a lot and that's something I'll have with me for the next 24-hour race. Now I know how to pace myself, not just on the track, but how to prepare myself before the race and during the night. It was a very good learning curve. I look forward to doing it again."